Adrien Rabiot to Manchester United: A transfer nine years in the making

Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot has re-emerged as a transfer target for Manchester United, as a surprise option for the club’s biggest problem.

United’s midfield is desperate, so we won’t turn our nose up at any solution to getting Scott McTominay out of the starting line-up.

Reports from The Athletic linking Rabiot have not, however, prompted an outpouring of excitement over a potential arrival.

With Rabiot, we have heard his name several times before. In fact this transfer rumour first surfaced nine years ago back in 2014.

READ MORE: Confirmed Manchester United transfers, ins, outs, loans, releases for 2022/23

Photo by Daniele Badolato – Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Adrien Rabiot to Manchester United: We’ve heard it before

The Mail reported in 2014 that a young Adrien Rabiot was on Manchester United’s radar after he begun to emerge at Paris Saint-Germain.

Rabiot was 19 at the time, and was being linked with replacing Tom Cleverley and Marouane Fellaini.

Now he could be parachuted in to help break up the underperforming midfield of Fred and Scott McTominay.

All these years on, it feels like very little has changed at United, with new chief executive Richard Arnold appearing to dust off one of Ed Woodward’s old shortlists to find Rabiot’s name.

In the years since, Rabiot eventually left PSG to join Juventus. He won five titles at PSG and has one to his name in Italy.

As a youngster, Rabiot spent time in Manchester City’s academy, briefly in 2008, before returning to France. He has 29 caps for his country at international level.

Rabiot was linked with a move to United in 2019 by The Sun before clinching his move to Juventus. He was an option then as a free agent.

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What could Adrien Rabiot add to Manchester United?

Rabiot, 27, would bring high level experience to United. He won’t be phased by the pressure of playing for a top club.

From a fitness perspective, Rabiot is reliable, unlike another free agent Juventus signed in 2019, Aaron Ramsey. He has played more than 125 times for the Italian side including 28 Serie A starts last season.

Rabiot is usually tidy in possession, ending the 2020/21 campaign with 90 per cent pass accuracy from 34 total appearances. This dipped to 84 per cent last season.

He is a combative player, averaging 2 tackles per game in Serie A over the past three seasons, which rose to 2.6 per game in the Champions League last season.

Rabiot is comfortable passing the ball forward or dribbling upfield, just in a far less explosive manner than De Jong. He is a far more limited player, but he’s also a safe yet uninspiring option for United.

The Frenchman will make United better, but he won’t be the transformative midfielder we hoped for. At this late stage of the window, it would be a pragmatic deal to do.

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