Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker believes the Premier League giants should choose Fiorentina’s Sofyan Amrabat over Everton’s Amadou Onana if Erik ten Hag is given the chance to bring in a new midfielder.
Deals for both players may be in limbo for the time being; Manchester United need to sell before they can free up funds for another big-money addition. But once the Red Devils find a buyer for Donny Van de Beek, Harry Maguire or Dean Henderson, Fiorentina and Everton can expect a phone call.
According to Alfredo Pedulla, Sofyan Amrabat has already agreed personal terms with United. Ten Hag’s side have also approached Everton about Amadou Onana, though the rangy Belgian would cost twice as much as Amrabat. The Guardian believe that Everton want at least £50 million.
Parker, meanwhile, believes that Amrabat’s ‘world-class’ performances during Morocco’s run to the World Cup semi-finals in Qatar gives the former the edge over the latter. A player who worked under Ten Hag at FC Twente proving himself on the biggest stage.
Manchester United want another midfielder
“I’d go with Amrabat over Onana,” Parker, a two-time Premier League champion under Sir Alex Ferguson, tells Inside Sport.
“Just because of the way he plays. He’s clever. He would have got that midfield ticking a lot better. He leads by example.
“I saw him during the World Cup. I saw Morocco live on two occasions, and I watched him. He reminds me of an old-fashioned 1980s English midfield player. The term we used to use to describe was box-to-box.
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“He never stopped. He was quality; calm and collected in both areas of the park.”
Monday’s performance in the fortunate 1-0 win over Wolves certainly painted the picture of a side in need of an Amrabat-like presence; an all-action enforcer to fill the cavernous gap between Mason Mount and Bruno Fernandes, and a very isolated Casemiro.
Sofyan Amrabat or Amadou Onana
“He’s like Bryan Robson or Paul Ince, without a shadow of a doubt,” adds Parker, who played with both at Old Trafford. “You couldn’t tell whether they were a defensive or attacking midfielder. They did all jobs.
“Defend, attack, control the ball and pass and move. They never stood still and were the ones screaming to get the ball to them and move quicker. And Amrabat does that.
“He’s done it for Morocco and he’s done it for Fiorentina. I saw him in the Conference League final against West Ham. Okay, he didn’t win the game. But you could see his quality and the difference he makes to them.
“You wonder why he’s at Fiorentina and not getting an opportunity to play for a bigger club and really test his qualities.”
United could attempt to sign Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch on loan if Amrabat proves to be too expensive.