“Best midfielder at FIFA 2022” Sofyan Amrabat makes a deadline day move to the Premier League as Serie A clubs finalise their squads.
Manchester United has paid €10M ($10.8M) to loan Fiorentina midfielder Sofyan Amrabat with an option to make the move permanent for £21.4M ($27.1M); the Viola eventually agreed to the proposal put forward by United on transfer deadline day.
Amrabat was left out of the Fiorentina squad for Thursday’s Europa Conference League play-off second leg against Rapid Vienna and hadn’t featured in Serie A amidst speculation over his future. Following five seasons in Italy’s top tier, the Morocco international departs Serie A having played 117 matches.
Hellas Verona initially signed the 27-year-old from Belgian side Club Brugge for €3.2M ($3.46M) in 2019 but his solid performances in midfield caught the attention of Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Pradè. Such was the impact of his arrival in Italy that, within twelve months, Amrabat’s value had increased five-fold to €18M ($19.46M). However, the competition for a starting place at the Stadio Artemio Franchi held its challenges as Erick Pulgar and Lucas Torreira were given more game time. By 2022, Amrabat had won a regular starting role under coach Vincenzo Italiano. With 2007 minutes played – the most of any Fiorentina midfielder – his dominant displays resulted in a call-up to represent Morocco in Qatar where repeated his stunning Serie A form. Morocco defeated Belgium and Spain during the tournament to become the first African nation to qualify for the semi-final.
Hailed as the best midfielder of the World Cup by many including French president Emmanuel Macron, Amrabat played every minute of Morocco’s campaign and was selected in the FIFA best XI by numerous publications. His growth in stature was unparalleled, symbolized by a memorable off-ball hit on Kylian Mbappé. With this addition, United can deploy his long-range passing qualities to switch play for the likes of Antony and Marcus Rashford. Impressively, Amrabat was among the top 10 players for pass completion in the opposition half per 90 minutes last season.
Manager Erik ten Hag has a previous working relationship with Amrabat from their time together at Eredivisie club Utrecht. The Dutch-born talent is the second Serie A signing of the summer for the Red Devils after Rasmus Højlund was secured for £64M ($80.6M) in July from Atalanta. With both Italian clubs profiting handsomely from their respective deals, Fiorentina’s total earnings could total €35M ($37.7M) with bonuses. Sassuolo’s Maxime Lopez is the prime candidate to replace Amrabat as the Tuscans aim to compete on three fronts having confirmed their participation in the UEFA Europa Conference League.
In other deadline days moves, Inter has announced the arrival of Benjamin Pavard from Bayern Munich for €30M ($32.3M), the club’s ninth noteworthy addition. The reigning Italian Cup champions have recalled former players Marko Arnautovic and Alexis Sanchez to add depth in attack along with Marcus Thuram as Inter readies another tilt at the UEFA Champions League.
Everton confirmed the arrival of Udinese striker Beto for €31M ($33.45M). The Portuguese scored 21 top-flight goals for Le Zebrette in 62 appearances after joining in 2021 for €7M ($7.55M) from Portimonense. Beto scored on debut for the Toffees in the Carabao Cup victory over Doncaster. Udinese coach Andrea Sottil had planned for the sale in advance by luring Cincinnati’s Brenner for €10M ($10.8M) and Lorenzo Lucca on loan from Serie B club Pisa.
The potential to make substantial profits is there for Italian clubs, as demonstrated by André Onana’s €52.5M ($56.7M) sale to Manchester United after Inter snared the Cameroonian on a free transfer. With Bayern Munich, Galatasaray and Barcelona all previously linked with Amrabat, ten Hag has his man and Fiorentina president Rocco Commisso will double his money. Undoubtedly, Serie A clubs will remain on speed dial for English clubs until the summer transfer window ends at 11 pm BST.
We may even see Mason Greenwood go to Lazio.