Exclusive: Every word of our Sofyan Amrabat interview with Аnas Bakhkhar - will the Moroccan sign for the Reds?
We were fortunate enough to speak with Foot Mercato's Moroccan journalist Аnas Bakhkhar about Liverpool's chances of signing Sofyan Amrabat and here's every word from the interview.
Many are familiar with Sofyan Amrabat’s performances at the World Cup but not many Liverpool fans had seen him play for Fiorentina. In terms of Liverpool’s interest in the player, how long standing has it been and how serious is it in the player?
“We’ve talked about it in Foot Mercato that Liverpool’s coach Jurgen Klopp has met the agent of Sofyan Amrabat, we can also mention that his brother, Nordin Amrabat, who has been working on his brother’s career for a long time now, was also there and they both met with the coach.
“It was a very good meeting, it was positive and they will be meeting a few days after the end of the World Cup to see if the interest is the same from Jurgen Klopp.
"After his performances in Qatar, the interest shouldn’t change and there will be other meetings to see the demands of Fiorentina, also the demands of his agent - to see if that transfer will go ahead or not”.
How did the initial talks go between Sofyan Amrabat’s representatives and Liverpool?
“Yes, they went well. Sofyan Amrabat hasn’t met Jurgen Klopp yet, it was just his agent who decided to meet the Liverpool coach.
“A player with the mentality of Sofyan Amrabat, who is very hard working and will be able to fulfil the demands of Jurgen Klopp on the pitch, to be pressing all the time, to run a lot and give a lot of effort.
“I think it was a positive meeting between the two”.
Are Liverpool the only club interested in signing Sofyan Amrabat, at the moment?
“There was Tottenham who tried to sign him last summer for their club, in the end they signed Yves Bissouma instead of him. There was an agreement in place between Sofyan Amrabat and Tottenham but there were some problems between Fiorentina and Spurs, so the transfer didn’t conclude.
“This winter there will also be a growing interest from Inter Milan who are looking for a No.6 to replace or compete with Marcelo Brozović.
“So at the moment, there’s only been further interest from Tottenham and Inter Milan but we never know, following Sofyan Amrabat’s performance against France there could be further interest from other contenders but for now, we know it’s just Liverpool, Tottenham and Inter Milan”.
Would Sofyan Amrabat be ready and able to make the step up to the Premier League and Champions League, with Liverpool?
“He has a lot of impact with or without the ball, he’s everywhere on the pitch and will be wherever the team needs him to be.
“He’s there to compensate when his teammates go and attack in the other half and he’s always in the best moment and time to go and anticipate the passes that break lines, he has an 85% success rate at stopping passes that break between the lines during this World Cup.
“His master class against Spain showed that he can also be a great passer in his own half, he doesn’t feel pressure when he has the ball and he just does the right thing, the simple thing, but the right thing to help his teammates go forward”.
How would you compare Sofyan Amrabat and Fabinho, could he replace him or play as an understudy to him?
“Even for Morocco in 2018, he acted as a back-up for Mbark Boussoufa but in the years after that, Sofyan Amrabat realised that he could have a more physical impact than Boussoufa and that’s really why he became the man in the midfield.
“I think he can bring this more than Fabinho, this physical aspect into duels on the ground or in the air and so that could be an advantage for him over Fabinho.
“I think Fabinho is better than Amrabat at dribbling, when he gets the ball Amrabat does not really take a risk to dribble past an opponent or try to make a difference with a dribble but only with his passing, so that’s maybe what can be the advantage for Fabinho.
“Amrabat’s style of play is very simple but it’s really efficient and everything he does is for a reason but it just works”.
Are we more likely to sign Sofyan Amrabat in January or the summer and when are Fiorentina more likely to sell?
“With Liverpool having a heavy calendar coming with the Premier League, Champions Leagues and the cups, it would be important for them to complete this signing this winter to improve their midfield directly and to benefit from Sofyan Amrabat’s dynamic performances at the World Cup.
“Maybe in six months he will not be as good as he is now and he will not be showing as much assertiveness as he is now but maybe if Liverpool make the move in this winter, it would be better for Amrabat to jump on this opportunity and show what he can do and maybe in six months be even better than now.
“It could be also a summer transfer because everything at the moment is still not concluded and the next meetings will be coming in the next few weeks between the agents, the club and the coach Jurgen Klopp, so the transfer timing will depend also on these meetings to see if everyone is on the same wavelength or not”.
What type of price should we expect to pay for Sofyan Amrabat and how much could his wages be?
“Before this World Cup Amrabat was evaluated at €10 million, which would be around £9 million, I think his performances in the World Cup would mean that Fiorentina would ask for a lot more and could want €30 or 40 million minimum to open talks with the player.
“Of the players available for around €30 or 40 million, Amrabat would be the perfect fit for Liverpool.
“We have heard about Jude Bellingham and Enzo Fernandez, Bellingham is linked with many other clubs like Manchester City. Enzo Fernandez has been linked with Barcelona. Liverpool can compete with Barcelona but not Manchester City financially, so Amrabat would be the perfect fit and match between a good price tag and good performances on the pitch”.
Are there any other players within the Morocco squad that could be making a move to the Premier League, or Liverpool?
“For the moment, Amrabat is the only Moroccan player that is linked with a Premier League side or to Liverpool.
“We have talked about Azzedine Ounahi who may be going to Barcelona because there is a good price tag on him, he is not that expensive and we know that Barcelona have had a lot of financial problems for the past few months.
“We’ve also talked about Sofiane Boufal who maybe can leave Angers, you will know him from Southampton where he spent a few seasons and scored the best goal of the 2018/19 season, with a beautiful solo goal.
“For the moment, Amrabat is the only one but I’m not doubting that any Premier League clubs are looking for players like Selim Amallah who could also be a good fit to the Premier League - he’s currently playing for Standard Liège in the Belgian Premier Division, so he could also be a good signing.
“Amallah is not shining as much as Amrabat in the Morocco team at the moment but I think that most are focussing on the player born and raised in the Netherlands.
“There is also Nayef Aguerd who has recently signed for West Ham, he got an injury in the second game of pre-season and had a few months where he couldn’t play. He came back a few weeks before the start of the World Cup in the Europa Conference League and the Premier League but he’s yet to show that he still has the level he had at Rennes.
“There could be other players, like Yassine Bounou who could be a top Premier League goalkeeper for some clubs but I think that his price tag from Sevilla could be very high, at the moment.
“There are plenty of interesting players to look out for any Premier League fan and any football fan should watch this match, France vs. Morocco because there could be a lot of surprises”.
Yes or no, will Sofyan Amrabat be a Liverpool player once the January transfer window closes?
“Can I say ‘I hope so!’ - I just hope so!
“Yes, there were very good and positive meetings between the parties and it can only be good if they are talking and the sporting director of Liverpool is involved too, for Amrabat and for Liverpool.
“Amrabat could be about to discover the high level that he can’t discover with Fiorentina in Serie A but moving to the best league in Europe and playing in the Champions League would be a great opportunity.
“Even though he doesn’t have the experience, maybe Fabinho will have the advantage over him on this side and may be in the starting line-up for the Champions League but you never know.
“A month ago, nobody even knew Amrabat but now every Premier League, Serie A and Ligue 1 club will know about him and may want to sign him, he’s made such an impact and brought so much effort. Even with his mentality, which was taught to him by his older brother who was also an international for Morocco for a long time.
“So, yes - I think Amrabat can be a Liverpool player, a very good Liverpool player”.
Thank you once again to Аnas Bakhkhar for taking the time to talk with us and make sure to give him a follow on his Twitter account @AnasB2khr
You can also watch the full interview via our YouTube channel:
If you’re of fan of this kind of content, all completely ad-free, then feel free to hit the subscribe button below and become an EOTK Insider. Dig into exclusive tidbits reserved only for our subscribers!