With the transfer window coming to a close at the end of tomorrow, there have been rumours that Adrien Rabiot, who has rejected a contract extension offer from PSG, will be one of the movers before the end of deadline day. Here is a profile on PSG’s youngster as other clubs look to sweep in and sign him from the French Champions.
Adrien Rabiot, still just 19 years of age, will tend to play positionally as the furthest forward central midfielder in a PSG trio, but has shown immense desire to track back and do the defensive midfield dog work as well. He looked very composed last year despite playing alongside some of the greatest players in Ligue 1 as well as against Champions League opposition. There is something serene about the way Rabiot operates on the pitch, a quality similar to that of Mesut Özil. Never rising to the provocations of the opposition, never upset with his teammates for making a mistake and never lambasting the referee when a decision does not go his team’s way (a rarity for a PSG player these days). It is astounding to showcase that touch of class at the age of 19. One could however argue that Rabiot is merely shy.
He is of course technically gifted, but at 6ft2 his power and stamina are probably his most desirable characteristics. There is something of a Yaya Touré quality about Rabiot which is partly why he was speculated to be the star of PSG for years to come, but following his rejection of PSG’s contract offer, that may not be the case. There has been considerable interest from abroad, with Roma and Arsenal the latest clubs to be linked to his signature. All will of course be revealed come Monday evening.
Rabiot’s time at Toulouse in 2013 saw him complete a fine loan spell in which he fitted in like a glove, both on and off the field, was rounded off by a brilliant strike towards the end of the 2012/13 season against Brest, where he cut inside from the right hand side and hit the ball with his left foot into the top corner from the best part of 35 yards. Such a goal showed what Rabiot is capable of and this was not his only contribution; silky midfield displays helped to propel Toulouse up towards a higher mid-table finish. He played 12 games for Toulouse, which were mostly from the starting XI and contributed one goal and a few assists. Rabiot’s dribbling is what largely sets him aside from other Ligue 1 players in his position. Very few players are able to glide on the ball, especially at 6ft2 but this allows Rabiot to gain vast amounts of territory before passing the ball off to a teammate who will then be in a dangerous position. The 19 year old is also very strong at moving the ball about the field, with a passing success rate of close to 90% for the calendar year of 2013.
His character won him friends at the Toulouse setup, despite being there for a relatively short period of time. Quiet, polite but determined, Rabiot seems to win over the vast majority of coaches he deals with, forcing as much game time out of them as possible.
Rabiot also made his mark on an international level this calendar year; the Frenchman played a key role in the U19 European Championships this summer and helped France to reach the final of the tournament, where unfortunately, they lost 1-0 to Serbia. Rabiot has also recently featured in Willy Sagnol’s U21 side, putting in a good performance against Armenia.
At 19, Rabiot it is not outlandish to suggest that the PSG man can become one of the best midfielders in the world. There are of course areas of his game that suggest weakness, including the sometimes wayward nature of his shooting, but the faith Laurent Blanc has shown in him now suggests that we are looking at one of France’s future greats, and that is no understatement. Whether his future will be at PSG, where he is upset with the lack of game time, or abroad, is unclear.