Sofyan’s Amrabat’s transfer to Manchester United on deadline day was certainly one of the most interesting deals completed in the closing stages of the window.
With Erik ten Hag’s side eager to reinforce their midfield ranks in the wake of Mason Mount’s injury, acquiring the Moroccan is a solid move by the Red Devils.
Multifaceted, energetic, intelligent and a nice fit for what the Dutch boss desires in a player in his position, the Moroccan international, who established himself as an elite operator in Serie A with Fiorentina and starred at the 2022 World Cup, definitely has all the tools to be a success at Old Trafford.
“In that (number six) position we only had Casemiro who can play really well there. With others we have to make compromises but, with Sofryan Amrabat, we have another one,” ten Hag insisted.
“Also he can play alongside Casemiro because he can also play a little bit higher on the pitch. So it’s very good to have him and I think he fits very good to Premier League football, to Champions League football. I think the demands are strong. He is very dynamic, he’s very good in the duels. So we are pleased that we have him at United and I think he will contribute to our high targets we set.”
A man who’s very familiar with ten Hag having previously worked under him at Utrecht, he jumped at the chance to reunite with the tactically astute coach, making a point of mentioning what an instrumental figure he was in his development when speaking on his arrival.
“It was very important because I was very young. I was 18, 19-years-old and he gave me the chance to play in the first-team with Utrecht. We had a fantastic time, a really good season. I learned a lot from him so maybe he’s one of the most important people in my career for now,” Amrabat said.
“It’s fantastic because I think Erik ten Hag is a coach who will push always to the limit. He’s hungry. He wants to win. He’s a winner and I like that. I think I’m also similar, I’m also a winner. I want to win every day so it’s a good match.”
Set to bring so much to the table on both sides of the ball, his offensive qualities are a great place to start, for the technically sound 27-year-old unquestionably holds his own in this compartment.
Able to dictate the tempo, help control matches and also play progressive passes into the feet of attackers and to oblige depth runners, his class here should be vital to Man Utd.
Accurate, considered in his decision making and great at keeping things ticking over, it’s also important to note what a solid range of passing he has, for he can switch the play sharply, break the lines incisively, engage in polished combination play and launch wicked through balls in behind.
The way he drives upfield with the ball at his feet is another crucial string to his bow, as the extremely strong, well balanced and powerful Amrabat, who possesses a neat first touch and ball control, relishes any chance he gets to surge upfield.
Whether avoiding pressure, holding off opponents, using clever touches to gain separation or beating opponents with some slick manoeuvres, his comfort and resistance to pressure enhances his worth.
The fact he has a brilliant understanding of the game, appreciation of space and knowledge of where to position himself to progress attacks amplifies his worth. Emphatically underlining his prowess at La Viola under the meticulous, expansive Vincenzo Italiano, where he instinctively knew where to be located to form numerical and positional superiorities, plus was always on hand to support build-up and wide attacks, watch for him to adapt seamlessly to ten Hag’s plans.
Able to give balance and structural stability to allow others to shine while giving protection when United are faced with counters, his presence should be a huge boost.
Shifting the focus to the defensive end, and the former Hellas Verona dynamo contributes massively in this regard too, with his tenacity, aggression and ball winning powers huge weapons in his armoury.
The tireless, determined midfielder is vitally never afraid to put his body on the line for his team, with him forceful in the tackle, happy to sprint back to assist colleagues and fine with blocking shots.
Typically excellent at timing his tackles, reading the play to chime in with interceptions, picking up loose balls, outmuscling foes in duels and just generally being a disruptive menace, expect this, in alliance with his attitude and immense work rate, to rapidly endear him to the fans.
While some issues have arisen in his heading, capacity to go in slightly too robustly and when defending transitions, which often forces him to commit professional fouls and pick up frustrating bookings, these don’t take much away from what an exceptional, well-rounded player he is.
A confident and proven performer for both club and country, the experienced and adaptable Amrabat should also have little worry settling into life in Manchester, with this latest switch meaning he’s now on his sixth club in three different countries at the professional level.
A joy to watch in full flight, all the signs are positive that the ball winning machine who also shines in possession should be an outstanding signing.
Familiar with ten Hag and his approach, mentally formidable, a fine fit stylistically and ready to stamp his mark from the off, keeping track of how he fares will be absorbing, for he can help provide solutions to plenty of issues for the Red Devils both in and out of possession.
With so many players coming and going at United over the years and many questioning their recruitment policy, bringing in Amrabat on an initial loan is a wise move, with the upsides attached to this deal potentially huge if he can replicate his form for Morocco and Fiorentina.