Manchester United wrapped up a deal to sign Sofyan Amrabat from Fiorentina on deadline day. The 27-year-old joined Erik ten Hag's side on an initial loan deal for a fee of €10 million with a buy clause set at €20 million plus add-ons, that will be activated in June 2024.
In what has been one of the most drawn out transfers over the summer, Manchester United will feel that they have landed a player who will not only improve the squad in many ways but was also keen on joining the club since June. Sofyan Amrabat refused interest from a number of clubs such as United's fierce rivals Liverpool.
Despite the keeness from the Moroccan international, Manchester United left it late in the transfer window to get a deal across. An outright purchase was not possible with United failing to raise the requisite funds through the sales of some of their fringe players like Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek.
Regardless, the Old Trafford outfit have navigated it to their way with an initial loan deal that will see Sofyan Amrabat link up once again with Ten Hag after their stint together at Utrecht.
In certain ways, it's a relatively clever signing for Manchester United and could provide some relief to the fans after a shaky start to the Premier League season.
Below, we take a look at three reasons why getting Amrabat's signature can turn out to be a shrewd move.
#1 Able partner with Casemiro
Casemiro is still regarded as one of the most elite defensive midfielders in the game. His positional awareness, defensive prowess and an uncanny abillity to find the net makes him a valuable asset at Manchester United. Last season, his signing changed the fortune of the side and the improvement was there for all to see.
However, Casemiro also managed to get into trouble a lot with his suspensions. Additionally, his age being on the wrong side of 30 meant that an able deputy was needed, especially with Ten Hag's two deep lying midfielders tactic. Amrabat may not exactly be the young protege lined up to replace Casemiro, but he provides a partner for the Brazilian in a season that will test United's squad in multiple competitions.
#2 Midfield versatility needed at Manchester United
Despite a number of options at the disposal of Ten Hag, he is still yet to land on his perfect midfield operators. Bruno Fernandes is a sure starter with Casemiro doing the dirty work behind, but it's the third spot that is still causing problems. Christian Eriksen's age is catching up with him, while Mason Mount will need some time to settle in. Young academy star Kobie Mainoo was expected to play a part, but his progress was halted by an injury.
Scott McTominay and Van de Beek are still yet to figure out if they will be a part of the squad this season, while Fred has already left the club. This is exactly where a versatile central midfielder like Sofyan Amrabat comes into the picture with his defensive nous and energy. He is a non-stop runner who can also drive the ball forward. Ten Hag can play him alongside Casemiro in a 4-2-3-1 or push him further up the field in a more attacking 4-3-3 formation.
#3 Good form
Morocco were one of the biggest surprises in the FIFA World Cup last year. The African nation managed to stun the likes of Belgium, Spain and Portugal to reach the semi-final. Amrabat was among the standout players for them, providing his attacking players with a fine defensive screen behind.
He also managed to rack up 49 appearances across all competitions for Fiorentina and reached the final of the UEFA Conference League. Such a rich vein of form can only help him transition into the side faster as Manchester United have already learnt their fate in the Champions League and Carabao Cup.