Ferdinand digs out Merson for comments on Man Utd new boy Sabitzer

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Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has hit back at Paul Merson following comments the Sky Sports pundit made about Marcel Sabitzer. The Austria international moved to Old Trafford on transfer deadline day. And he became their third signing of the January window in the process, following in the footsteps of Jack Butland and Wout Weghorst.

United knew they needed to land a new midfielder following the news Christian Eriksen will be out of action until late April or early May.

And they then proceeded to negotiate a loan deal with Bayern Munich for Sabitzer, who joins until the end of the season.

Many United fans are happy with the deal, with the Austrian set to provide Erik ten Hag with a different option as they look to win all four competitions they’re currently competing in.

But Merson, speaking on Sky Sports on Tuesday, labelled Sabitzer a ‘panic buy’.

“He doesn’t get in the Bayern Munich team, he’s way off that,” the former Arsenal star told Sky Sports.

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“I know the two in midfield are cemented but if he was that good, he’d be pushing.

“Again it goes back to panic. There was no interest in him on January 1, now it’s a panic, Eriksen’s just got injured and it’s a panic and you’re bringing fourth rate Bayern Munich players in. For me, I’m not sure about that.

“This lad wasn’t on the radar before, he doesn’t get in the Bayern Munich team.

“If I’m a Manchester United fan I’d be looking and thinking he’s not in their first team so why would we want him in our team.

“Are there players there already who are better than him?”

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But Ferdinand, speaking on his FIVE YouTube channel, hit back at Merson and said the Sky pundit hadn’t watched Sabitzer play.

“I am absolutely delighted with it,” said the six-time Premier League title winner.

“If I was trying to get a short-term replacement for Eriksen at the drop of a hat, Sabitzer is the player I would get.

“I watched a hell of a lot of this player when he was at RB Leipzig and he was sensational. He was integral to everything they did.

“Yes he’s gone to Bayern and hasn’t tore it up there or become a regular but the players he’s behind are big, household names.

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“He will be a really good signing for Man United. He’s an experienced player who has played in big games, Champions League games.

“For me, those comments [from Paul Merson] stink of someone who hasn’t seen him play and who wouldn’t know who he is or if he’s left or right-footed because you can’t say it’s a bad signing.

“This guys knows how to play football. You don’t get signed by Bayern Munich if you’re a chump.

“He’s a really, really good footballer. Manchester United couldn’t have done any better, I don’t think.”

Sabitzer himself has spoken out after the deal, admitting he was delighted to join United on a temporary basis.

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“Sometimes in life you have to make quick and important decisions,” he said.

“From the moment I heard about this opportunity I knew it was right for me. I am a competitive player; I want to win and help the club achieve its aims this season.

“I feel that I am at my peak as a player, and that I can contribute a lot of experience and energy to the squad.

“I am excited to start with my new team-mates and manager and to show my qualities to Manchester United fans.”

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