Sofyan Amrabat has played high-level football for a number of seasons throughout Europe, with his current stint with Fiorentina seeing him emerge as a versatile, well-rounded midfielder. However, he really began to catch the eye of Europe’s elite clubs following his performances for Morocco during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He anchored his side’s midfield magnificently through his organisation and ball-winning, serving as arguably the most important player for the Northwest African nation en route to their maiden World Cup semi-final berth.
His defensive work was most notable during the tournament, but his game is actually far more expansive than this. Fiorentina enjoyed the second-highest average possession rate in Serie A last season and these statistics allowed Amrabat to truly show his abilities with the ball, which is largely what we’ll focus on here. Amrabat is a high-volume passer within the Fiorentina system and he does so with a high degree of accuracy.
As shown by the data, Amrabat is regularly involved in Fiorentina’s circulation of possession, as well as having a very high overall progressive passing distance. He understands how to dictate the tempo of a game whilst possessing the ability to break the lines.
Ranking in the 94th percentile for touches in the middle third in Europe’s top 5 leagues, Amrabat is the hub of what La Viola do with the ball and ultimately makes this possession-centric system work. The Moroccan also specialises in medium and long-range passing. This allows him to diversify his style of ball movement.
Statistically, Amrabat is genuinely one of the best distance passers in Europe, both in volume and accuracy. He’s adept at sitting deep and spraying passes all over the pitch whilst also providing the defensive reliability required of a deep-lying midfielder. This retention and reliability are crucial to how his side plays and not many players would be capable of taking on this role. However, Amrabat is far being just a ball circulator — he’s equally adept as a progressive passer.
He is very capable as a passer in advanced positions, especially as Fiorentina retain possession at such a high rate and enjoy sustained possession in opposition territory. He’s then able to use his tremendous vision and high-quality technique to exploit passing lanes and deliver excellent progressive and penetrative passes and crosses from the half-spaces.
Amrabat’s value goes beyond just his passing. The Morocco international is also a strong ball carrier, using powerful runs and close control to evade pressure. Standing at a reported 1.85m tall, he possesses both the size and strong frame to win duels regularly and cover plenty of ground with the ball.
Amrabat is secure in his dribbling and ball-retention, which serves as an immensely valuable skillset to both club and country. He’s able to relieve pressure as well as act as an avenue for quick and decisive progression. This makes him a versatile, multi-faceted midfielder who can operate in a number of roles and hurt the opposition in numerous ways.
At just 26 years old, Sofyan Amrabat is really only now just entering the prime years of his career. Unsurprisingly, he’s attracted interest from clubs throughout Europe, most notably from Barcelona as they look for a Sergio Busquets replacement. Those would be enormous boots to fill, but he appears to be a player of the necessary quality to do so. There have also been reports of interest from Manchester United as they pursue competition for Casemiro in the holding midfield position. Amrabat is almost guaranteed a move away from Fiorentina this summer and, at a reported fee in the region of €40 million, many clubs should be interested in the Morocco star.
By: Lebohang Mwamuka / @lebzygold
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Chris Brunskill / Fantasista / Getty Images