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Sofyan Amrabat’s purgatory continues

It’s the stories like this that make the transfer window such a drag: they’re not about anything and they just won’t stop.

Grosseto v Fiorentina - Pre-season Friendly
Weird to sell Saponara after he left on a free.
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

It’s been a pretty weird summer for Sofyan Amrabat. After rocketing into international consciousness at the World Cup as the heart and soul of a heroic Morocco, he didn’t end up leaving in the January transfer window as so many foreign journalists anticipated. However, he did receive a promise from Fiorentina’s management to sell him over the summer. With just a couple weeks left in the transfer window, though, he remains a Viola player despite links to Liverpool and Manchester United.

It’s flown a bit under the radar since this isn’t even Fiorentina’s most awkward narrative around a stalwart midfielder’s transfer this year, but it’s also got to be pretty unpleasant for all parties involved. For Amrabat, he knows that any injury in training or a match could scupper his big move to a Champions League side and a massive payday. Fiorentina, meanwhile, likely can’t do too much more in the mercato until they get this figured out.

Despite a report from Algemeen Dagblad this morning that Liverpool are ready to meet the €35 million price tag that Fiorentina have set for him, subsequent reporting has pumped the breaks, with Gianluca di Marzio relaying that there’s no offer yet but that the Reds have made contact with Amrabat through intermediaries (which is a word so vague in this context as to be next to meaningless).

Meanwhile, Alfredo Pedullà claims that Manchester United have been in touch with Amrabat all summer and are simply waiting to sell another midfielder before making an offer. The move would make sense, given how badly the Red Devils have needed a competent defensive midfielder for half a decade and Amrabat’s previous history with Erik Ten Hag at Utrecht.

For his part, Amrabat has remained characteristically stoic throughout the process. He’s still training with the Viola but hasn’t been on the squad list for any preseason matches, and is likely doing light work separate from the group to avoid injury. While the people around him are unusually voluble—Morocco’s coach Walid Regragui and Amrabat’s own brother Nordin have spoken to the press about how he needs to move—Sofyan himself remains a cipher.

Internet sleuths have claimed that a recent change of agents means something, but don’t read into it. Both Mohamed Sinouh and Mahmoud El Bustati work for Jonathan Barnett’s Stellar Group, so this is likely more just an organizational reshuffle than a real firing. All we can do at this point is hope that Amrabat keeps his cool, that the Viola keep their nerve, and that Liverpool and Man U drive up his price.