Sofyan Amrabat waited and waited for Manchester United to sign him over the summer before finally getting a loan deal done on transfer deadline day. Then the club had to wait for him to get fit after he arrived with a back injury. But when the Morocco midfielder finally made his full debut against Crystal Palace, it was worth it.
United had earmarked Amrabat as a replacement for Fred all summer and were first linked with him the day after the FA Cup final. Financial Fair Play obligations prevented them from signing him permanently and they risked losing him to Liverpool at one point.
Amrabat, however, was utterly committed to joining United, and it was clear from his post-match interview after spearheading the 3-0 win over Palace in the Carabao Cup that making his debut for the Red Devils was one of the biggest moments of his life. He acknowledged that he had joined United in a difficult period but he portrayed a willingness to do whatever it took to get them out of trouble and back on the road to success.
"Since I was a child I worked for this, my whole career, my whole life. It's Tuesday and the whole stadium is full, fantastic," Amrabat told Sky Sports. "I told the manager you play where you need me, even like a goalkeeper, wherever I can help the team. It was not the most easy time. It's clear United's a huge club, it's clear you need to win, the manager told me the pressure is high, every day you need to win so we will push a lot."
More importantly, he lifted United's performance levels across the pitch and gave a glimpse of the type of football they are capable of playing when they have an all-action midfielder in the team, someone with the legs to cover serious ground and also the technical ability to bring the ball out from defence and into attack.
United's midfield was badly exposed at the start of the season, but there is real hope that Amrabat can help continue their upturn in form and lead them to another victory against Palace on Saturday in the Premier League.