Manchester United’s active transfer window has meant that quite a few familiar faces have left the side even as fresh names and numbers now dot the club’s roster.
As a result, though, the fans have not fully gotten a taste of all that these incoming talents have to offer. Mason Mount’s injury cut short his impression just as he seemed eager to put his gaffes to bed and Rasmus Hojlund has attained fitness at the wrong end of the international break.
Having said that, the club could instead best benefit from a player who just snuck in during the final days of the transfer window. The Red Devils made two vital loan moves in Sergio Reguilon and Sofyan Amrabat and in one of them, this season’s long-term success may be secured.
Sofyan Amrabat to give Erik ten Hag a lot of space to tinker
Sofyan Amrabat’s arrival from Fiorentina is the precise sort of low-profile high-impact deal that the Red Devils have been shy from making in the past few transfer windows. Numerous factors make the Moroccan international an attractive acquisition, the least of which are his memorable World Cup performances from last year.
Firstly, the player excels at high-volume passing. This will be crucial to the steady build-up play type of football that Erik ten Hag is trying to establish at United. With Andre Onana launching from the back, a player of Amrabat’s patient yet decisive passing will do wonders at ensuring that a fluid line is created in attempts at goal.
Likewise, his press-resistant nature will make him the ideal candidate for a possession-keeper. Of late, United have struggled to maintain possession and Amrabat could do it in a way that Nemanja Matic used to master during his hey-days. Since the latter’s decline, United simply have not had such a profile at their disposal at defensive-midfield. In particular, if the 27-year-old can ape his Fiorentina knack for dropping between the centre-backs to collect the ball, Old Trafford is in for a tactical defensive treat.
Moreover, United are acquiring a player whose physicality is out for all to see. This has been a tested trend in Premier League football off late and thus one which United will be happy to add to. When one considers the raw impact that the likes of Declan Rice, Rodri, Mateo Kovacic, and Thomas Partey have made off the back of their raw impact, Amrabat is likely to be right up there.
In particular, if he aids the club’s total duels won and sharpens their ball-recovery process, the frontline could easily get far more opportunities at putting their decisiveness to good use in transition. This was painfully lacking against Arsenal in their recent display and it is high time that it is a defensive midfielder who steps up to the task of dictating the play in and out of possession, a feat Casemiro alone cannot be relied on to do.
Speaking of which, it is the Brazilian who may have the most to gain from this transfer, at least as far as meaningful rest is concerned. While a total replacement is out of the question, Amrabat could certainly be used to rotate Casemiro, who is far more likely to make a difference in big games when fully rested.
Moreover, this frees up the logistical option of deploying both Mason Mount and Bruno Fernandes as no.8s as the Moroccan can be relied on to provide more mobility than the former Real Madrid man and disciplined cover alongside an inverted full-back (usually Diogo Dalot).
Ten Hag can take a step closer at choosing from more than one starting lineup at his disposal to win Premier League games. All in all, here is a signing that does not necessarily do one big thing but certainly gets multiple tiny yet effective things right. The international break cannot end quicker for the United faithful to get a taste of this resilient talent.