Manchester United's pursuit of Morocco international midfielder Sofyan Amrabat has been one of the longest-running sagas of the 2023 summer transfer window.
The Red Devils have made no secret of their admiration for the Fiorentina man and they finally wrapped up a deal for Amrabat on deadline day.
United fans were desperate for midfield reinforcements after the sale of Fred to Fenerbahce and Marcel Sabitzer's return to Bayern Munich following last season's loan spell at Old Trafford.
Amrabat caught the world's attention with his dynamic displays during Morocco's shock run to the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup and he will be aiming to make a similar impact in his debut Premier League campaign.
Sofyan Amrabat was born in Huizen in the Netherlands on 21st August 1996 and represented the Netherlands at Under-15 level before switching his international allegiance to Morocco.
His older brother is Nordin Amrabat, the former PSV, Galatasaray, Malaga and Watford winger who won 64 caps for Morocco between 2011 and 2019.
The younger Amrabat brother started his footballing journey in the Utrecht youth system and made his Eredivisie debut for the first team in 2014 at the age of 18.
His breakthrough season came in 2016/17 when he started 31 of Utrecht's 38 league matches, helping them finish fourth in the Dutch top flight behind traditional Eredivisie powerhouses Feyenoord, Ajax and PSV.
Amrabat's performances caught the attention of champions Feyenoord, who signed the youngster for €4m in the 2017 summer transfer window.
His opportunities under coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst were limited to 11 Eredivisie starts and 10 substitute appearances although he benefited from working with Dutch internationals Steven Berghuis, Jens Toornstra and Robin van Persie as well as his future Manchester United teammate Tyrell Malacia.
Amrabat stayed at Feyenoord for just one season before securing his first move abroad, joining Club Brugge in Belgium.
He had a modest spell in Bruges and was loaned to Serie A club Verona at the start of the 2019/20 season in a move that would yield handsome dividends for both the player and his new club.
A strong first half of the season in Italy prompted Verona to sign the 23-year-old Amrabat for €3.5m on a permanent deal in January 2020. The Gialloblu ensured a handsome profit by immediately agreeing to sell him on to Fiorentina for a fee of €20m at the end of the season.
Amrabat's tough tackling occasionally crossed the line in his 2019/20 season in Verona, where he picked up 10 yellow cards and was sent off in a 1-1 draw with Milan and on his final appearance for the club against Genoa.
However, he played a big role in securing a ninth-placed finish for Verona, helping them to a famous 2-1 home win over Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus in February.
Asked about his decision to move to Fiorentina, Amrabat said: "Intentions are important and Fiorentina want to make great progress in the next few years. I have signed for five seasons and I want to help them achieve their goals."
He made his debut for La Viola in a dramatic 4-3 defeat at Inter Milan and established himself as a key part of their midfield unit, despite a disappointing 13th-placed finish in 2020/21.
Fiorentina impressed in Amrabat's two subsequent campaigns in Florence, finishing seventh in 2021/22 and eighth in 2022/23 when they also reached the finals of the Coppa Italia and the Europa Conference League.
They came up short in both cup competitions, losing 2-1 to Inter in the Coppa final and going down by the same scoreline against West Ham in the Conference League, when Jarrod Bowen scored a 90th-minute winner for the Hammers.
Despite failing to land silverware with Fiorentina last season, it was a memorable campaign for Amrabat thanks to his central role in Morocco's glorious run to the last four of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The Atlas Lions topped a group containing Croatia and Belgium, two teams with a wealth of quality in midfield, before beating Spain on penalties in the last 16 and seeing off Portugal 1-0 in the quarter-finals.
Amrabat was at the heart of Morocco's success and pundits around the world included him in their team of the tournament, highlighting his tireless work-rate, ability to break up opposition attacks, and composure in possession.
After Morocco's semi-final defeat to France, the French president Emmanuel Macron reportedly visited the Atlas Lions' dressing room and declared that Amrabat was the tournament's best midfielder.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag, as well as the home fans at Old Trafford, will be hoping that Amrabat's Premier League performances merit even more plaudits.
Manchester United (Outrights):
To Win Premier League - 20/1
To Win Premier League Without Man City -
To Finish in Top 4 - 6/5
To Finish in Top 6 - 3/10
To Finish in Top Half - 1/33
To Win the FA Cup - 10/1
To Win the League Cup - 7/1
To Win the Champions League - 20/1
To Win a Major Trophy - 9/4