Man Utd, Chelsea and Barcelona frustrated over World Cup star

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • 26 Mar 2023 22:20 BST
  • 3 min read
Sofyan Amrabat

Manchester United, Barcelona and Chelsea all missed out on a Deadline Day transfer for Morocco World Cup star Sofyan Amrabat, the player’s brother has revealed.

Amrabat proved to be one of the breakout stars of Qatar 2022 as Morocco were the first African side to reach the semi-finals of the competition before losing out narrowly to France and then suffering a 2-1 loss against Croatia in the third-place playoff.

This made the 26-year-old unexpectedly one of the hottest properties in the January transfer window, but while there was plenty of speculation, this did not manifest into a concrete deal as Fiorentina stood firm on their no-sale stance on the player who is under contract until June 2024.

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Speaking to ESPN Nederland’s Goedemorgen Oranje programme, Nordin Amrabat explained: “The president of Fiorentina said during the World Cup: ‘We’re not going to sell Sofyan Amrabat.’ I think he did that to try to hit the jackpot.

“There has been a lot of interest but Sofyan only wanted to leave for a big team. There were many requests from England and these clubs could have paid high transfer and agent fees.”

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Sofyan Amrabat

Sofyan Amrabat

Amrabat was one of the players that Man Utd targeted as it became evident Christian Eriksen could be missing for some time late in the window.

“Manchester United arrived in the last two days,” Nordin said. “They wanted a loan with an option to buy. It didn't happen because Fiorentina didn't want to.

“Barcelona also came two or three days before the transfer market closed with a loan offer. But due to their financial problems, they could not offer a mandatory purchase option. And the third club was Chelsea.”

Amrabat’s preference revealed

Amrabat, meanwhile, was eager to join Barcelona.

Nordin added: “Barca were willing to pay a good purchase option, so Sofyan really hoped the deal would be done. But Fiorentina said: 'No, no way. You're one of our most important players, we're not going to let you go now. In the summer, we can discuss a transfer.’

“If FC Barcelona come forward, you want to take the plunge. And if Barcelona don’t buy you, someone else will. Fiorentina would benefit either way.”