Adrien Rabiot’s name has been heavily circulated in the media in recent days after the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder revealed his desire to move to the Premier League in the near future, with Arsenal heavily linked.
The Frenchman, 21, is widely hailed as one of Paris’s future leaders in a squad bursting with prospects who have potential world-class ability at their feet such as Layvin Kurzawa and Marquinhos.
Rabiot, who spent time with Manchester City early in his blossoming football career, has spent the summer ensuring that he would have a prominent role in a competitive side under Unai Emery, who moved from Sevilla to replace Laurent Blanc at the helm.
After a peripheral role for the French champions in 2015/16, Rabiot has started all three games of the Ligue 1 season thus far.
His most magnificent performance? The 3-1 loss to AS Monaco.
Jonathan Johnson singled out Rabiot for individual praise on a night where the rest of the PSG team were simply horrendous.
Rabiot was magnificent. Strange to praise a player so highly for their display in a lost game but Rabiot was very impressive again. Mature and combative, the 21-year-old goes from strength to strength under Emery.
Perhaps puzzling, but Rabiot is one of those rare individuals who can rise above the lacklustre performances of his team-mates. To put it simply, he is a leader.
Carlo Ancelotti, now coach at Bayern Munich, managed Rabiot at Paris, and even he can scarcely believe the sheer class that Rabiot possesses at such a tender age.
I had him at PSG when he was 17-years-old,” the Italian told Goal. “For his age, we are speaking about a very interesting player, particularly as this season he has gained a great deal of experience. He is going to be a very important player for PSG in the future.
Blanc never favoured the utilisation of Rabiot – why use an untested youth product when Marco Verratti, Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi are available? Well, such goes the logic.
Emery has a much more open footballing mind, however, and could see the benefits that Rabiot brings to the team immediately, and Rabiot has favoured his new coach’s more open approach to how things are done on and off the training pitch.
“Blanc had certain things going for him but I think Emery is a little closer to the players. This is a coach who really communicates with everyone. He is asking us our opinion after the sessions, what we liked, what we didn’t like.
“He asks if you are not too tired after training. This is really important for the staff to know as they can then adapt [the training sessions]. They need to know if we can withstand the workload being asked of us.
Communication is essential, not only in football but in all sports. This is what I find really good about Emery.”
It is evident that the importance of communication that Emery has stressed to Rabiot has had an undoubtedly positive effect on his overall attributes. One can see the subtle differences in the way that Rabiot composes himself on the pitch, amongst other minute details, that have generally improved his game.
Emery may have to make corrections in other problematic regions of his team, but his tweaking of Rabiot has helped engineer a midfield maestro where older and more experienced players, such as Thiago Motta, are sometimes failing to produce.
Rabiot’s versatility is a factor as to which Arsene Wenger will absolutely approve. He has shown his relative ease at operating as a box-to-box midfielder, coping efficiently at absorbing pressure in front of a defence as well as instigating attacks further afield.
Andrew Gibney has suggested that placing Rabiot in front of two holding midfielders could give him the licence to move forward and engage in further attacks, in what could be an interesting role should Emery decide to deploy him there.
Should Rabiot join Arsenal, it would be a fascinating puzzle for Wenger to solve as to how his midfield would fit into place. There is a feeling that it any such transfer will not happen in January, with Santi Cazorla still working efficiently as ever alongside Granit Xhaka.
That’s not to mention that Rabiot has easily been Paris’s best midfielder during the 2016/17 campaign to date, and the fluidity and balance he brings will not be something that Emery will want to relinquish. It is not as if the club are in desperate need to sell players to balance the books.
Besides, it appears that Rabiot’s eyes are firmly set on an award close to his heart.
“My ambition is to establish myself as a starter at PSG and I think that with that, international recognition with France will also come.
“Of course I am very happy at PSG and I would like to stay for a long time, to grow with the club and to become captain of the team one day.”
Have no uncertainty, the acquisition of Adrien Rabiot is no easy one, but should Wenger do the extraordinary, Arsenal will have a player with incredulous potential on their hands.
Callum Connolly, Pundit Arena.
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