Adrien Rabiot: Why the French Midfielder Is Everything Manchester United Don’t Need

Juventus moved quickly last summer to secure the services of Adrien Rabiot on a free transfer to finally bring to an end his time at Paris Saint-Germain – after his relationship with the club completely broke down.

Sure, his actions during his time in Paris are well documented and this, understandably, made a number of suitors wary. But the fact remained, Juventus had picked up a talented midfielder without needing to pay a transfer fee. With the right guidance and in the right surroundings, Rabiot could become a world class midfielder and this proved too good an opportunity to turn down for the Bianconeri.

Despite the fact that Rabiot had not played for PSG since December of 2018 after being held ‘a prisoner’, many were still expecting Rabiot to hit the ground running as he looked to prove a point to the footballing world, a reminder that he is and could be a top class midfielder.

Red Star Belgrade v Paris Saint-Germain – UEFA Champions League Group C

However, this hasn’t proven to be the case.

At all.

While the Frenchman has started 24 games in all competitions, only 16 games have come from the start. And perhaps what has been more worrying is the fact that he has only managed to complete the full 90 minutes just nine times in 2019/20.

As for productivity, Rabiot doesn’t have a single goal or assist to his name.

Not one.

This underwhelming form mixed with his and his agent’s (mother) continued off-field antics has left Juventus frustrated and ready to part ways with him already. One club said to be very interested is Manchester United, particularly considering the uncertainty regarding Paul Pogba’s future.

Juventus are said to be looking for just €35m for his services, and have even offered him to Arsenal, Chelsea and United in part-exchange deals. While the Red Devils are on the lookout for a new midfielder, Rabiot quite simply isn’t the answer.

Playing for the badge has once again become imperative under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, while the club has also been targeting players who are driven and constantly looking to better themselves. The impact of Bruno Fernandes has been clear for all to see, with the Portuguese showing an attitude that has inspired his teammates and lifted them.

That is the impact just one player can have.

And equally, it takes just one player in the dressing room to harm the morale and cause the team to stumble. Man Utd need a tireless midfielder who lets their football do the talking, not someone who forces a member of the club’s hierarchy (in this case, then-PSG sporting director Antero Henrique) to come out and publicly criticise them. Henrique stated that Rabiot’s professionalism towards the club, his teammates….and the supporters was ‘unacceptable’.

For a player, there aren’t many prouder moments than slipping on the colours of the team you grew up supporting and/or your country’s kit. Rabiot is no different, admitting this himself. However, when his nation came calling for him to be on the standby list for the World Cup in 2018, the Frenchman turned down the offer, and decided to launch a public attack on coach Didier Deschamps, using his love for the national team as a justification.

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Not only was it disrespectful to turn down such an offer from his nation, it was another – and the most shocking – reminder of the attitude of the player, deeming it acceptable to publicly criticise the France head coach.

Do Manchester United need such a player? Do they need someone who downs tools when they don’t get their way?

No. Not at all.

Then there is the agent – his mother Veronique.

United made a point of dropping out of the race to sign Erling Haaland due to his agent Mino Raiola’s demands. This wasn’t the first time Raiola had placed himself in the centre of negotiations, but in an attempt to move away from past strategies (that failed – miserably), the Red Devils decided not to give in and allowed the star striker to join Borussia Dortmund instead.

In a way, it was refreshing to see, even if it did mean the club missed out on one of Europe’s brightest talents.

Veronique – like Mino Raiola – has proven to be a demanding agent, with money dictating the relationship between herself and the club. There are a number of examples of this, but most recently, it is said that one of the reasons Juventus are ready to offload Rabiot is due to the fact that Veronique did not react well when the club asked Adrien to take a wage cut due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Borussia Dortmund v FC Schalke 04 – Bundesliga

This is despite the fact that Rabiot earned a €10m signing bonus when he joined the club. €10m.

Simply put, United don’t need a player and agent at the club who will almost certainly cause headaches and create problems should their wishes not be granted – as has proven to be the case time and time again at PSG and Juventus.

As for Rabiot’s abilities on the pitch, from a young age, the 25-year-old was singled out for praise, with coaches claiming he would go right to the top. PSG even hoped he would become captain of the club in the future, leading them to glory domestically and in Europe. Make no mistake about it, Rabiot has a number of qualities about him – but none that really jump out at you.

For Juventus this season, Rabiot hasn’t contributed much in attack (actually, well, statistics show he’s contributed nothing), while he’s also not exactly a defensive-minded midfielder. Instead, he’s a player that enjoys spraying passes around the field, dictating the pace of the game. This is all very well and good, but in the Premier League – and indeed any competition – the hard work comes first before a player has the chance to show their quality.

This isn’t something Rabiot does especially well. At PSG and at Juventus as well, his flaws have been somewhat masked due to the tireless work rate of those around him, doing the dirty work for him. Juventus fans have quickly realised his inability to influence matches neither defensively or offensively, and this is exactly the opposite to the type of player Man Utd needs.

Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus: Group D – UEFA Champions League

The Red Devils are in the market for a ball-winning tireless defensive-minded midfielder, while they are also keen on another creative midfielder to support Fernandes. Rabiot ticks neither of these boxes. In fact, United already have a number of players at the club who perform a similar role to the Frenchman….only more effectively.

Rabiot is not a low-risk buy despite the potential cost of a deal and while it may seem tempting, Man Utd must stay clear of any deal for him. He wouldn’t bring anything new to the team on the field, while a move would likely come with numerous strings attached, such as playing time and compensation fees etc. etc.

The mere fact his agent is pushing so hard for a move to the Premier League because it is the only division that can afford him during these times of crisis underlines the problem at hand. This is a deal Man Utd should be staying far, far away from at all costs.


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