Sofyan Amrabat was acquired by Manchester United on loan just before the deadline, and the team has given him the No. 4 shirt as he attempts to ensure that the option for a permanent contract is exercised.
In a perfect world, Manchester United would have sold Scott McTominay and acquired Sofyan Amrabat this summer, but the stars never quite aligned for that to happen.
It was emphasized that any other midfield arrivals would only be likely if there were departures when United’s interest in Amrabat became apparent between the end of June and the beginning of July, at a time when they had already bought Mason Mount for £55 million.
Both Donny van de Beek and McTominay’s futures were uncertain at that point. McTominay was one of the few assets that might be sold, and because he was an academy graduate, a sale would be advantageous in terms of Financial Fair Play even if United was leaning toward keeping him.
However, United moved closer to keeping McTominay after promising youngster Kobbie Mainoo suffered an injury during the preseason trip, and interest in the Scot never materialized as strongly as could have been anticipated. Despite the admiration of David Moyes and Thomas Tuchel, neither West Ham nor Bayern Munich pressed for a transfer.
McTominay and Van de Beek both decided to remain in the end. Even though he was left out of United’s 25-man Champions League squad and may do the same when the Premier League roster is announced on Wednesday, the 26-year-old might still relocate to Turkey over the next week.
Amrabat played 50 times for Erik ten Hag’s FC Utrecht team between 2015 and 2017, thus it is clear how eager he was to work with the Moroccan again. Upon arriving to Old Trafford, Amrabat referred to him as “one of the most important people in my career for the time being.”
The long-term transfer United had planned for Amrabat after midfielders were sold never happened because of United’s desperate attempts to stay inside financial constraints. After selling Dean Henderson to Crystal Palace on deadline day, they were only able to pay the €10 million loan fee.
Given that his Fiorentina contract is slated to expire next summer, the 27-year-old only has one season to convince United to prolong his stay. United can choose to make the change permanent for €20,000,000 plus €5,000,000 in add-ons.
Ten Hag advocated for this acquisition, but John Murtough, director of football, granted his approval after the loan agreement was finalized.
“The group that we are building here fits perfectly with his committed, high-energy approach to the game,” he added.
We are confident that Sofyan’s mentality, dynamism, and technical skills will benefit the team as we strive to win this season’s championships.
Amrabat is regarded as a defensive midfielder, and the fact that he was given the No. 4 jersey further indicates that he will likely fill that position. It will be intriguing to see how he fits into a team that already has Casemiro, with Mount and Bruno Fernandes also set to start in the middle of the field.
Another constraint will be placed on McTominay’s playing time. Although he is capable of playing a number of midfield positions, he has mostly played at the base. In his two seasons as a substitute, he has only played seven minutes of football.
Only one of Amrabat and McTominay will remain at Old Trafford past this season’s end, it seems quite obvious. If the first one isn’t able to make an impression, it’s not impossible that they both go.
Even though they are currently teammates, they are most likely aware that they are also in a competition. McTominay is put on the back foot since Ten Hag clearly wanted Amrabat, but he has demonstrated character in the past to establish his value at United.