Sofyan Amrabat is edging closer towards a move to Manchester United, according to reports, and the transfer is set to cause a serious stir in Erik ten Hag’s midfield - for better or worse

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Manchester United may still be prioritising a striker as the summer transfer window rumbles on, but Erik ten Hag could be about to shake up the Red Devils’ midfield with the signing of Sofyan Amrabat.

The Fiorentina linchpin has been increasingly linked with United, and speculation ramped up on Monday when claims in his native Morocco stated that a deal had been agreed with the player’s entourage and a €25million (£21.5m) bid has reportedly followed. Amrabat, 26, has already worked with Ten Hag during their time at Dutch side Utrecht, where both men were still honing their craft.

Six years after they went their separate ways, a reunion could be on the cards which would bolster United’s midfield ahead of what promises to be a testing 2023-24 season. But despite the Serie A star being one of Europe’s coveted playmakers, much thanks to his outstanding World Cup campaign as Morocco reached the semi-finals, his move might not be positive for everyone at Old Trafford.

Here are six dilemmas facing Ten Hag should Amrabat make the move.

Where does Amrabat play?

Most Premier League fans will recognise Amrabat as the midfield metronome who superbly kept Morocco ticking in Qatar as they stunned the World Cup, narrowly losing 2-0 to reigning champions France in the last four. The 26-year-old was deployed in a deep-lying role, prompting the majority of United supporters to presume that he’s being recruited by the Red Devils to play as a No.6.

But some of Amrabat’s best performances at club level - including for Ten Hag’s Utrecht between 2015 and 2017, and especially for Hellas Verona before he signed for Fiorentina - have come as a box-to-box midfielder. While the star’s versatility is undoubtedly a plus point on his CV, it gives his manager a decision to make over exactly where he’ll be played to get the best out of him.

_**Have your say! Would Sofyan Amrabat be a smart signing for Manchester United? Join the debate in thecomments section. ** _

Fiorentina are anticipating the departure of Sofyan Amrabat before the transfer window closes Fiorentina are anticipating the departure of Sofyan Amrabat before the transfer window closes (


Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images)

Mount’s game-time

When Mason Mount arrived from Chelsea in a deal worth up to £60million earlier this month, questions were raised regarding whether or not he’d even be a nailed-on starter at Old Trafford. After all, the midfield trio of Bruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro was integral to United’s success last season.

Adding Amrabat to the mix would only increase the competition facing Mount, who’d prefer to play deeper than the attack-minded Fernandes, just like the Moroccan. The England international has been quietly impressive in pre-season but he’ll need to make more noise to convince Ten Hag to drop the proven Eriksen from his best XI and keep an ambitious Amrabat on the sidelines.

Mason Mount has started all three of Manchester United's pre-season friendlies Mason Mount has started all three of Manchester United’s pre-season friendlies (


Mike Stobe/Manchester United FC)

Eriksen’s future

Signed on a free last summer, Eriksen got off to the best start of United’s six summer signings. Instantly raising the technical floor of the Red Devils’ midfield, the Dane’s three-month injury layoff from January to April was arguably the main reason why United only ended up winning one trophy last term.

Now, though, excitement over Mount and talk about Amrabat seems to have relegated Eriksen to the bench for a large portion of fans. Ten Hag still likely trusts the 31-year-old for the big occasions but a weak display in the FA Cup final was a sour note to end on.

One season into a lucrative three-year contract, Eriksen will be in no rush to leave and since almost never playing football again after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Euro 2020, he won’t be keen to watch his career peter out from the bench. Perhaps Amrabat’s arrival will prompt him into considering his future.

Christian Eriksen was crucial for Manchester United last season Christian Eriksen was crucial for Manchester United last season (


Mike Lawrence/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Sales required

As Fred and Scott McTominay learned last season, finding a route back into Ten Hag’s team is tough. Both midfielders lost their places to new singings and have been bunked further down the pecking order by the addition of Mount, prompting both players to weigh up their prospects at Old Trafford.

Still absent from United’s pre-season tour due to a personal issue, Fred has just one year left on his deal and has been targeted by Fulham, but it’s understood that the Cottagers won’t stump up the £20m asking price. McTominay, meanwhile, is wanted by West Ham but they’re also not keen to meet the Red Devils’ demands, this time £40m.

While both players are handy members of the squad and have good personalities, they’re at risk of not even making the bench should Amrabat rock up. The Red Devils also need to sell before buying amid Financial Fair Play concerns, and either Fred or McTominay’s sales could be the trigger for United to welcome Fiorentina’s prised asset.

Fred is on the chopping block Fred is on the chopping block (


Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Scott McTominay is wanted by West Ham Scott McTominay is wanted by West Ham (


Andrew Mordzynski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Casemiro cooldown

While Casemiro was a solid candidate for United’s Player of the Year award for 2022-23, the Brazilian midfield marvel missed a whopping eight games through suspension and helped derail the Red Devils’ spring form with a series of overzealous actions. While he was able to tally an impressive 51 appearances during his maiden campaign in England, Casemiro is now 31 and could do with a rest from time to time to keep him at his brilliant best.

In a No.6 role, Amrabat might be the perfect man to do just that, but picking and choosing when to shuffle his pack will be a key decision for Ten Hag. The Dutch manager’s entire system was dependent on Casemiro doing the dirty work last season, so his replacement has big shoes to fill when the moment comes.

Casemiro is hoping for less suspensions this season Casemiro is hoping for less suspensions this season (


Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

Will Mainoo need to be loaned?

Last but certainly not least, what of Kobbie Mainoo? The breakout star of United’s pre-season campaign looks ready for the rigours of Premier League football, having made three first-team appearances last season.

But if the Old Trafford hierarchy are able to secure Amrabat’s signature, that could serve as a blow to Mainoo’s hopes next season. While it’s been reported that Ten Hag plans to keep him, the 18-year-old himself might push for more game-time on loan.

Kobbie Mainoo has received rave reviews Kobbie Mainoo has received rave reviews (


Mike Lawrence/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

As Red Devils fans will know, it worked a treat for Amad at Sunderland last time out. With Amrabat and Mainoo sharing similar characteristics which force them to compete for the same roles, the Stockport-born sensation may be better off learning his trade elsewhere rather than being stuck in youth football barring the odd call-up to the senior squad.

With that all being said, will his pre-season displays convince Ten Hag to forget about Amrabat altogether?