Fiorentina are reportedly ‘ready to sell’ Sofyan Amrabat for a fee in the region of £30 million as Premier League giants Manchester United renew their interest in the Qatar World Cup star.
Arguably no player epitomises the post-Sir Alex Ferguson Manchester United better than Fred. Exceptional on his day, abysmal on others; the Brazilian international has oscillated wildly from a 9/10 to a 3/10 during his Old Trafford career.Ccapable of running the show against Barcelona one minute and then producing the worst cameo performance you’ve ever seen (Tottenham away, anyone?) the next.
With interest from Fulham and Saudi Arabia, per the Daily Mail, Fred could at least depart on the back of his finest season in United red. Scoring six times and setting up six more while playing over 50 games under Erik ten Hag in 2022/23.
But with the Mail reporting that Sofyan Amrabat is back on United’s radar – the Red Devils failed with a loan-to-buy bid in January – Old Trafford could soon be home to a player who offers everything the ‘good Fred’ can provide. Albeit without the inconsistency that has dogged the 30-year-old’s Manchester United career.
Not just a replacement, but an upgrade.
Fred out, Sofyan Amrabat in at Manchester United
“Trust me, Amrabat is a world-class player,” Morocco coach Walid Regragui said at the start of the Qatar World Cup.
If Regragui’s comments raised eyebrows at the time, they certainly looked pertinent a few weeks later; the Atlas Lions became the first African team ever to reach the World Cup semi-finals.
Was there a more influential midfielder anywhere in the tournament?
Amrabat was arguably the best player on the pitch as Morocco defeated Belgium, Spain and Portugal on route to the last four. And while much was made about his ball-winning ability – Amrabat like a dog with a bone when harassing and hassling opposition attackers – do not sleep on the other side of his game.
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There is a reason why Erik ten Hag – his former FC Utrecht coach – values Amrabat so highly. Every player in a Ten Hag team must be capable of receiving the ball under pressure. Making the right decision in a split second. And that is what separates Amrabat from Fred, a player who’s internal Sat Nav is prone to malfunctions.
Ten Hag loves him
Amrabat is perhaps best compared with N’Golo Kante. A midfielder initially renowned for his tough-tackling ways. But one who’s ability on the ball rivals that of his ability off it. Amrabat is outstanding when receiving possession from his centre-halves and playing probing passes between the lines.
If the arrivals of Andre Onana and Mason Mount raise United’s technical ceiling considerably, then replacing Fred with Amrabat would represent another major step towards creating a team in Ten Hag’s image.
The Daily Mail, meanwhile, report that Fiorentina will now listen to offers in the region of £30 million. Due to United’s Financial Fair Play pressures, this is a deal which may be placed on the backburner until sales can be made, and until a long-awaited takeover is made official.
But watch this space. Onana, Mount and Amrabat would not only improve United’s squad, they would also represent a major step towards ‘Ten Hag ball’.