The summer’s long-drawn-out saga of Sofyan Amrabat to Manchester United came to an end on transfer deadline day when the Premier League giants signed him for a loan fee of £8.5m from Fiorentina. They have the option to sign him next summer for £17.1m.
Sofyan Amrabat, 27, was unable to make his Manchester United debut against Arsenal due to a cut-off with Premier League paperwork, which needed to be completed by midday on Friday afternoon. The Moroccan international knows Erik ten Hag inside out from their working days together at FC Utrecht in the Eredivisie and the Man United boss will have an idea of how to use the central midfielder in his team.
After a disjointed start to the 2023/24 season, Ten Hag will hope Amrabat hits the ground running in the Premier League and brings together Man United’s midfield. With that being said, here are three ways that the Red Devils could line up with Amrabat in their midfield unit.
Amrabat and Casemiro in a double pivot (4-2-3-1)
Ten Hag’s experiment of deploying Casemiro alongside two No.8s in Bruno Fernandes and Mason Mount has not worked out at all, with the duo often leaving the Brazilian international isolated and susceptible to quick counter attacks. That’s why Amrabat’s late addition was so important to Man United as he possesses the required skill-set to not only deputise for Casemiro but also operate alongside him.
Considering the Man United team that started in the 3-1 defeat to Arsenal in north London, Christian Eriksen looks likely to make way for Amrabat. Tenacious, energetic and ground pounder, Amrabat is an instant upgrade on Eriksen and would provide the missing link between Casemiro and Fernandes.
Amrabat, Eriksen & Mount midfield trio (4-2-3-1)
Amrabat has signed for United as a partner for Casemiro in midfield, but, also to act as cover for the Brazilian international whenever he’s not available. In Casemiro’s absence, or should he require a rest, Ten Hag can use Amrabat and Eriksen in a double pivot with Mount operating as a No.10.
On many occasions last season, particularly in big games, Ten Hag usually sacrificed one of his wide forwards to give his team greater control, protection and balance. Fernandes was often deployed on the right flank to do a job for the team, with Casemiro, Fred and Eriksen forming the Red Devils’ engine room.
Ten Hag could repeat that this season, especially to get the best out of Mount centrally from the No.10 position.
Amrabat as a lone defensive midfielder (4-3-3)
Amrabat is not just a defensive destroyer—he is a press-resistant, smooth operator on the ball combining icy composure with fiery passion and great work ethic—as best demonstrated at the 2022 World Cup and for Fiorentina throughout last season. The Moroccan is confident carrying and progressing the ball upfield, making him an ideal fit to operate in a deep-lying role in Ten Hag’s system at United.
At 31, Casemiro doesn’t have the legs to sweep up things and function consistently for 90 minutes. That’s where the slightly younger and more mobile, robust and athletic Amrabat will fit in as a lone sitter, offering Fernandes and Mount or Eriksen the license they need to function as two No.8s and wreak havoc in the final third.
I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.