Move over Amrabat: Man United could’ve signed a dream Casemiro heir in £55m “machine”

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Manchester United may not have had the transfer window that a lot of fans had hoped for, as seen by their reliance on a small number of big additions rather than the necessary makeover.

The season has started unevenly for Erik ten Hag, with the team winning close games against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest in the Premier League and losing to Tottenham Hotspur in the middle.

Could the Dutchman have been a little more aggressive in his transfer business, aiming to add Sofyan Amrabat to strengthen his midfield?

What can Man United expect from Sofyan Amrabat?

The Moroccan midfielder made history for his country at the 2022 FIFA World Cup by being the first African country to reach the competition’s semifinals. He also had a strong season for Fiorentina last season, helping them to the Europa Conference League final.

Youssouf, Fana, Sofyan, Amrabat, Manchester United, Premier League transfer
Amrabat demonstrated his skills on the international scene by placing first on the team for accurate passes made per game (38.3), third for tackles per game (2.3), and eighth for interceptions per game (0.9) in Qatar.

These displays may have given Ten Hag a sense of his potential effectiveness, but he could have been even more successful if he had signed Joao Palhinha, a player who has already shown himself in the Premier League.

Is Joao Palhinha that good?

United had expressed interest in signing the Portuguese midfielder from Fulham prior to the summer transfer window, but a deal never materialised. Instead, he ended up coming close to joining Bayern Munich in a £55 million deal, only for the move to fall through on deadline day.

In actuality, the Red Devils lost out on this, especially in light of Palhinha’s outstanding play since joining Fulham last summer.

The 28-year-old demonstrated his prowess at winning the ball back in the league’s top flight last season by recording the most tackles (147), second only to Moises Caicedo (100), demonstrating just how good Palhinha was at gaining the ball back.

In his first season in England, he was praised by his teammates for his performances, with teammate Harrison Reed even calling him a “tackling machine.”

Not only did he lead the league in tackles per game (4.2), but he also showed his physicality by winning 59% of his duels, which helped Fulham surprise everyone by finishing in the top half.

The £50,000-a-week player, who was even praised as “Casemiro-esque” by journalist Zach Lowy before he moved to Fulham, would have been Ten Hag’s ideal Casemiro successor.

Since moving to Old Trafford from Real Madrid in 2022, the Brazilian has excelled. This season, he led the entire United team in tackles per game (3.2) and won 55% of his total duels, demonstrating the parallels between the two.

Palhinha and Casemiro both demonstrate their strength in the middle of the pitch by their adeptness at tackling and aerial duels, according to WhoScored. Given that the 6 foot 2 giant is currently finding his stride, Palhinha may have been the ideal successor to the United jewel.

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