Man Utd may lose Sofyan Amrabat for seven games as Ten Hag dealt double dilemma

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Manchester United secured desperately needed midfield reinforcements on deadline day by recruiting Sofyan Amrabat on loan from Fiorentina. But the 27-year-old is set to miss a chunk of his first season at Old Trafford, potentially as many as seven games.

Amrabat has landed at United on a season-long loan worth £8.5m, with an option to make the move permanent for £17m next summer.

Erik ten Hag will hope the energetic midfielder will bring balance to his engine room after a turbulent start to the campaign.

A midfield trio of Casemiro, Bruno Fernandes and £60m new boy Mason Mount struggled in United’s opening two Premier League fixtures.

And Fred’s £13m exit for Fenerbahce has left Scott McTominay as the only fit midfielder who can fill in for Casemiro or offer a more defensive second head next to the Brazilian.

But while Amrabat’s arrival has sparked excitement across the fanbase, it comes with a lingering concern similar to Andre Onana’s £47m switch from Inter Milan.

Morocco will feature at the Africa Cup of Nations in the new year, which could rule Amrabat and Onana out of contention for as many as seven games.

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Onana hasn’t yet committed to his Cameroon return beyond this week’s AFCON qualifier against Burundi, but Amrabat has already booked his place at the tournament.

If Morocco go all the way and challenge for their second AFCON in the final, Amrabat could be absent for several fixtures at the start of 2024.

He would miss four currently scheduled Premier League games – Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham at home and Wolves and Aston Villa on the road.

The first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 may also fall within the AFCON period, should United progress out of Group A against Bayern Munich, Galatasaray and Copenhagen.

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It may also be crunch time in the Carabao Cup if United go far in the defence of their crown, and he would miss the semi-final second leg if he’s still on Morocco duty.

Ten Hag would also likely have to go without Amrabat in the FA Cup fourth round, should United navigate past the first hurdle in that competition.

The Dutchman regularly stresses the need to find solutions to every issue, and Amrabat and Onana’s impending absence will be no different.

But even before United’s new No 4 starts life at Old Trafford, losing his services for such a significant run of games is a daunting prospect.

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