Despite obvious talent, this 21-year-old Austrian is not who Man United need right now


Why Manchester United need not push too hard for Christoph Baumgartner 

According to The Sun, Manchester United are weighing up a move for highly-rated Hoffenheim midfielder Christoph Baumgartner as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer bids to strengthen his squad even further.

As per the report, the Red Devils are keeping close tabs on the Austrian international with a view to bringing him to Old Trafford to bolster their creative options. However, it is understood that United are likely to move for the 21-year-old in the summer rather than test Hoffenheim’s resolve in the showdown week of the January window.

Baumgartner’s rise in Germany

Baumgartner rose through the youth ranks of SV Horn and St. Polten in Austria before being snapped up by Hoffenheim in 2017. After impressing for the club’s reserve side, the midfielder was promoted to the first-team in January 2019.

He eventually made his competitive debut in the Bundesliga against Werder Bremen towards the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

borussia moenchengladbach v tsg hoffenheim bundesliga
MOENCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY – DECEMBER 19: Christoph Baumgartner of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim battles for possession with Christoph Kramer of Borussia Monchengladbach during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and TSG Hoffenheim at Borussia-Park on December 19, 2020 in Moenchengladbach, Germany. (Getty Images)

The Austrian playmaker’s stocks have been on the rise over the past 18 months. Baumgartner has amassed 12 goals and 13 assists in 55 appearances for Hoffenheim in all competitions so far.

He also caught the eye in the group stages of the Europa League earlier this season, playing a key role in the German side’s qualification to the knockout rounds.

The 21-year-old’s exploits in the Bundesliga have seen him get dubbed ‘the next Michael Ballack’. Baumgartner has also caught the eye for Austria national team at the senior level, scoring twice from 5 caps so far. 

Manchester United are well-stocked in midfield

Make no mistake, Christoph Baumgartner is a really exciting young player with the potential to reach great heights in his career, but he’s not someone Manchester United need to prioritise in the transfer market this month or even in the summer. 

tsg hoffenheim v 1 fc koeln bundesliga 1
SINSHEIM, GERMANY – JANUARY 24: Christoph Baumgartner of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim is tackled by Marius Wolf of 1. FC Koln during the Bundesliga match between TSG Hoffenheim and 1. FC Koeln at PreZero-Arena on January 24, 2021 in Sinsheim, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

That doesn’t have anything to do with Baumgartner’s qualities but it’s largely down to the plethora of existing talents at Solskjaer’s disposal. Donny van de Beek came through the door this past summer with a huge reputation. But even a player of his calibre has simply been restricted to a bit-part role in the set-up.

With Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic being accomplished operators in the midfield, it’s highly unlikely that Baumgartner would be able to break into United’s starting XI. 

hertha bsc v tsg hoffenheim bundesliga
BERLIN, GERMANY – JANUARY 19: Deyovaisio Zeefuik of Hertha Berlin is tackled by Christoph Baumgartner of TSG Hoffenheim during the Bundesliga match between Hertha BSC and TSG Hoffenheim at Olympiastadion on January 19, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images)

Pressing concerns elsewhere

Suffice to say, Man United should look to improve other areas of their squad rather than moving for another attacking midfielder. While a specialist winger would fit the bill, the Red Devils would also benefit from the acquisition of another top-quality centre-back to compete with Maguire and Lindelof. 

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Splashing the cash on Christoph Baumgartner wouldn’t make much sense as far as United are concerned. Despite obvious talent and potential, the PL pace-setters need to keep their eyes off the Austrian starlet.