The stumbling block in Manchester United’s pursuit of Sofyan Amrabat

Fiorentina and Morocco star Amrabat is on Erik ten Hag’s wish list but there’s an obstacle

Miguel Delaney
Chief Football Writer
Thursday 13 July 2023 12:50 BST
<p>Sofyan Amrabat is a target for Manchester United </p>

Sofyan Amrabat is a target for Manchester United

Manchester United have made initial overtures for Fiorentina and Morocco star Sofyan Amrabat but any move is dependent on sales.

Erik ten Hag's main priorities are – in order – a goalkeeper in Internazionale's Andre Onana and a striker, with Atalanta's Rasmus Hojlund currently the most realistic option. United are negotiating with both Italian clubs in order to bring in the two within budget, after which the Dutch coach will seek to bolster his midfield.

Many industry sources beyond Old Trafford however say that the market is currently completely blocked due to a range of factors, among them Saudi Pro League money inflating fees and affecting plans, as well as an ongoing stand-off in the highly competitive No 9 market. This has exacerbated United's long-term struggle to sell players, although one issue is much more simple.

West Ham United are waiting until the formality of Declan Rice's move to Arsenal is completed, at which point they will step up strong interest in Scott McTominay. There has also been tentative interest in Harry Maguire, potentially on loan, although any such deal currently looks much more unlikely.

The feeling within Old Trafford is that McTominay and one other player would have to go to fund Amrabat, who so impressed during Morocco’s stunning run to the World Cup semi-finals last year, especially if the prices for Onana and Hojlund exceed the current budget.

United are in negotiations with both Italian clubs but are still £5m off Inter's price on Onana, with many sources stressing the need for significant compromise to get this done. Atalanta are meanwhile sticking to a huge valuation on Hojlund, especially as he represents the main striker target in this market outside the elite options of Harry Kane, Randal Kolo Muani and Victor Osimhen.

Hojlund himself almost represents a compromise for United, although Ten Hag is a huge admirer of his abilities. The club have at least been monitoring Kane's situation, especially as it is commonly believed the player's first preference would be to go to Old Trafford.

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