Exclusive: Sofyan Amrabat's Liverpool update - every word of our latest interview with Аnas Bakhkhar
After widespread rumours about Sofyan Amrabat possibly joining Liverpool during the World Cup, things have gone a little quiet. Here's the latest on the Moroccan thanks to Foot Mercato's Аnas Bakhkhar
There was so much speculation during the World Cup around interest from Liverpool and possible meetings scheduled at the end of the tournament, what happened in these talks and what's the current situation?
“Just to remind everyone, there was a positive meeting during the World Cup between Amrabat's entourage and Liverpool but unfortunately, his agent thought that Liverpool were linked with a lot of midfielders during this transfer window - like Jude Bellingham and Enzo Fernandez and Liverpool were having discussions with Borussia Dortmund and Benfica.
“So, it was difficult for Amrabat's agent to see if he would be an undeniable starter under Jurgen Klopp, it was very difficult situation and they decided to abandon negotiations with Liverpool”.
Amrabat has also been linked with Atletico Madrid, several other clubs in Spain, and around the world - where do you think he will end up?
“At Foot Mercato we had information that Atletico Madrid were close to signing Amrabat because he was appreciating the sports project in the long-term. He even had the opportunity to talk with Diego Simeone, to talk about the long-term vision of the club.
“The problem is that Atletico Madrid don't have money right now to sign him in this window. They will receive €50 million from the sale of Matheus Cunha to Wolves, if he signs after his loan deal but it's very complicated.
“Fiorentina are also trying to extend his contract which is set to expire in 2024, so it's very complicated to see him leave Serie A this winter”.
We've seen reports that Amrabat was at the Nou Camp to watch Barcelona face Getafe, is this accurate and could he be moving to Barca?
“Can't he just appreciate a good Barcelona game! I don't know if he was there to sign but we did also see that Azzedine Ounahi was spotted at the Parc des Princes watching PSG vs. Angers and that was nothing to do with signing for PSG but there was speculation then too.
“I don't think that going to Barcelona is a matter of transfer discussions for Sofyan Amrabat, for the moment”.
You've said that Amrabat won't be joining Liverpool in January, could this be a move that happens in the summer instead?
“Personally, I think he wants to leave Fiorentina. His agent has made it clear to Fiorentina that he wanted to leave the club this winter, to go to a bigger club because he wanted to profit from the performances he had at the World Cup, to go to a bigger club like Liverpool - which could have been an opportunity to play at a high level, play in the Champions League, play in the Premier League. This is also a league that he could fit in very well because of his physicality and impact in each game, so it was a good choice for him to go to Liverpool.
“Unfortunately, we know that some players who do profit from their World Cup performances by signing for a new club, they don't always hit the same level of performance in the following seasons.
“So, for the moment, I do think that Amrabat will stay at Fiorentina - even their CEO Joe Barone said that he wanted to see Amrabat stay at Fiorentina, like his Argentine teammate Nico Gonzalez who was linked with Leicester City. It's very hard to see either leave in the final week of the transfer window, if Fiorentina doesn't have time to find a replacement for them”.
It seems that Fiorentina doesn't want the player to leave but is there any indication of where the player would like to move to?
“His choice by default is to stay with Fiorentina and they have already rejected a lot of money to see him leave. His favourite option this winter was Atletico Madrid, because of the sporting project in the long-term but at the moment, he's going to stay with Fiorentina.
“He's got the next six months to see if he can have the same level of performances at club level, like he did with the national team and then maybe in the summer, the board of Fiorentina will assess his performances”.
Morocco had a great World Cup, other than Sofyan Amrabat, are there any other players we should be on the lookout for?
“It's a bit surprising that we haven't seen any of the big surprises from the Moroccan team leave their clubs yet. We've spoken about Azzedine Ounahi who was close to a lot of clubs, like Napoli, Olympique Marseille, Leeds United, and Leicester City and it's very surprising to not see him leave Angers because they are playing to try and stay in Ligue 1 this season, it's very hard to see him be able to have high levels of performances in the coming weeks, if he stays with this team who are in a difficult situation.
“We have also talked about Yassine Bounou and Youssef En-Nesyri who said yes to Nice, if Terem Moffi doesn't join Nice because Moffi of FC Lorient was close to signing for West Ham but the transfer didn't go ahead as expected.
“I think the only Moroccan player who could change his club in the final week of the transfer window is Yahia Attiyat Allah, he was the left-back who played against Portugal and got the assist for Youssef En-Nesyri in the quarter-finals, he could join Montpellier who are battling to keep their place in Ligue 1, so that's not the best club for him to show a better level but it's a step into European football for him because he currently plays with Casablanca in the Moroccan Championship, where he won the Championship and the Champions League of Africa with them, so this could be an opportunity for him to discover European football.
“But, at the moment, I think it's very surprising to not see a lot of Moroccan players move to a better club yet”.
Lastly, and back to Amrabat and Fiorentina, if they do sanction a sale in the next week or in the summer - what price will it take for them to allow Sofyan Amrabat to leave?
“I think when we spoke last time, it was around €30 million to see Amrabat leave because it would need a big price to see him leave, because of his performances in Qatar.
“Now, I think it's very difficult to see that, if they get a really big offer from another Premier League side, or even Atletico Madrid if they have the money, it would take a very, very big offer - I don't want to give you an exact price and give you false information - but for the moment, as the Fiorentina board have not found a good replacement for him or Nico Gonzalez, who are the two players that could make a profit from the World Cup if they leave Fiorentina, I would say far, far more than €30 million but I don't have a specific price to tell you".
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:
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