Jurgen Klopp performs late transfer U-turn as Man Utd hijack Liverpool target
Manchester United will push ahead with their attempts to sign Sofyan Amrabat on loan after seeing their £1.7million bid knocked back on Wednesday.
United are in pole position to sign the Fiorentina midfielder despite Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp holding transfer talks this month with the Moroccan. The agent of Amrabat already had confirmed clubs want to sign the midfielder this summer amid interest from the two Premier League rivals.
The Merseyside reds are still keen to bolster their midfield options – following the exits of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this summer – and are advancing with a move for Ryan Gravenberch of Bayern Munich. The Dutchman had also been of interest to United – but Anfield is his more likely destination.
Reds boss Klopp met with Amrabat’s representative earlier this year while Erik ten Hag previously coached the player at FC Utrecht. It appears that the latter is decisive in Amrabat’s desire to join United, but an agreement still must be found with Fiorentina.
United’s bid was a €1million (£865k) guaranteed loan fee with a second instalment of the same value set for January. However, the Reds Devils would hold a break clause on that deal – as detailed by The Athletic – meaning that such a renewal at that point was not guaranteed.
Amrabat is desperate to leave Fiorentina – who promised him in January that he could move in summer. Dutch publication AD recently outlined that Reds boss Klopp has gone as far as to hold talks with Amrabat in a bid to convince him to move to Anfield – but that deal has not taken off.
The Moroccan international played under United boss Ten Hag across 18 months for Eredivisie club FC Utrecht. The United boss has been extremely virtuous towards the player – heralding his stamina and desire to place the team above himself, a quality which he holds in the upmost regard.
“That was so important for me,” Amrabat told The Athletic earlier this year, when reflecting upon Ten Hag’s management earlier in his career. “It was my second year in the first team. He made a plan for me. He asked me about my strong points and what I wanted to improve. From the first day, he was busy with me. Not only me, all the players.
“A lot of coaches are busy in general with the team but he put a lot of time into individual work because he knew if the individual was better the team would be better.
“After every game, he would take me through a video and explain everything to me. I was 18 or 19 years old, so sometimes I was thinking, ‘Oof, again?’. But now, when I look back, I know it was so important for my career. I learned such a lot from him.”
United are in need of reinforcing their midfield after selling Fred earlier this summer while the loan deal of Marcel Sabitzer was not extended. There are also doubts over the future of Scott McTominay.
Amrabat’s brother Nordin – whose decorated professional career including two years at Watford – has spoken of Sofyan’s relationship with Ten Hag. Ahead of last season’s Europa Conference League, in which Fiorentina were edged out by West Ham, he namedropped Old Trafford as a possible location for his brother.
Nordin told ESPN of his brother’s future: “Ten Hag is now looking for a striker, he wants that first. From there he will see what is possible. But I know that Ten Hag is charmed by my brother, he broke through under him and they have a good relationship, so who knows.”