Hellas Verona's Sofyan Amrabat is one of the most sought-after midfielders in Serie A at the moment.
One thing I’ve noticed about Sofyan Amrabat is that he very rarely headers the ball. Even deep in his own half, surrounded by opponents, when a high ball arrives, he’ll control it on his chest, inevitably emerging from the ensuing skirmish with the ball at his feet and ready to launch another blistering counterattack. It’s a trait that encapsulates everything about him as a player – a natural ball winner, blessed with composure, vision, agility and dynamism. And that’s why he’s one of the most sought-after midfielders in Serie A at the moment.
Sofyan Amrabat was born in 1996 to Moroccan parents. His older brother Nordin is currently playing for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, having enjoyed a varied career with spells at PSV, Galatasaray and Watford (amongst others), as well as earning 64 caps for the Moroccan national team. Nordin achieved some notoriety during the World Cup in Russia when, following Spain’s late dramatic equaliser to deny Morocco an unlikely victory, he described VAR as “bullshit” in front of a global television audience of millions.
Nine-years Nordin’s junior, Sofyan was born in Hulzen in Belgium. He grew up in Utrecht, where he soon came to the attention of the local team (FC Utrecht), for whom he made his professional debut in 2014 aged just 18. His real breakthrough came in the 2016/17 season, during which he made 31 appearances in the Dutch Eredivisie. He then moved to Dutch giants Feyenoord, with whom he won two Dutch supercups (the Johan Cruyff Shield) and the Dutch cup (the KNVB Cup), as well as making six Champions League appearances. In 2017 he signed for Belgian giants Club Brugge, for whom he made 25 appearances.
Although he missed Club Brugge's first two games of the current season, he did play in a 2-0 victory against Oostende on the 10 August 2019, before signing on loan for Hellas a few days later.
Since making his debut for Hellas Verona as a substitute in the opening game of the 2019/20 season , Amrabat has been a constant presence in the heart of Verona’s midfield. His dynamic, high-octane performances have been a feature of everything Verona have achieved so-far this season and have earned him the instant respect and admiration of the Curva. He’s widely regarded as one of the most important players to emerge in Serie A this season, attracting the attention of the peninsula’s biggest clubs.
Napoli are already planning a major squad revamp in summer and are keen to secure the signature of the Moroccan midfielder ahead of the January transfer deadline. They have lodged a formal expression of interest with an offer in the region of €10 million and a four-year contract worth a reported €1.4million a season. Inter have also expressed an interest and already have a good working relationship with the Veronese boardroom, having recently agreed a loan deal for Eddie Salcedo. Fiorentina are also said to be interested.
Despite the current speculation, Amrabat isn’t going anywhere in January, as he has played for both Brugge and Hellas Verona this season, making him ineligible to play for a third club in the current season. Although Verona have the right to buy Amrabat for €3.5 million, an offer of somewhere in the region of €15-20 million would almost certainly prize the midfielder away from the Bentegodi. Although cashing-in would make good business sense, Amrabat’s departure would leave a gaping hole in the heart of the Verona midfield. A hole that would be difficult to fill.