Arsenal

Is Arsenal Transfer Target Adrien Rabiot Perfect for Arsene Wenger?

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 12:  Adrien Rabiot of Paris Saint-Germain (C) battles with Omer Toprak (L) and Philipp Wollscheid of Bayer Leverkusen (R) during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and Bayer Leverkusen at Parc des Princes on March 12, 2014 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentAugust 18, 2014

If Paris Saint-Germain central midfielder Adrien Rabiot moves to Arsenal, could he be another Arsene Wenger transfer gem?

Wenger is targeting Rabiot, per Ben Jefferson at the Daily Express.

Meanwhile, PSG are holding out for €7/£5.6 million knowing Rabiot is likely to exercise his Bosman right to a free transfer at the end of the season, per RMC (h/t Get French Football News). 

Here is a scouting report on Rabiot, a 19-year-old, 6'3", 157-pound French youth international.

 

Rabiot Positives

Credit: FrenchFootballWeekly.com

Rabiot is one of the best prospects playing in France, according to French Football Weekly. 

Over two seasons for PSG, he has completed 937 of 1,038 passes (90.3 pass-completion percentage) in Ligue 1, so he will be a dependable passing outlet for Arsenal. 

Credit: Squawka.com

On loan at Toulouse, Rabiot displayed incisive passing, brilliant movement and high football IQ. 

He sliced open Sochaux's defence and squared the ball to Toulouse right wing-back Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro.

Rabiot bypassed Montpellier's back line with a lobbed through-ball to Toulouse centre-forward Wissam Ben Yedder.

What makes Rabiot a unique talent is he is not limited to being a facilitator. 

Rabiot netted an outrageous long-range left-footed winner against Stade Brestois 29.

Showing predatory instincts, Rabiot was in the right place at the right time to score against Bordeaux, Montpellier and Guingamp.

Defensively, Rabiot's accumulative ball-winning statistics (1.6 tackles, 1.2 interceptions per game) are diminished due to sub-affected games.

However, he is a significantly better defender than Jack Wilshere per 90 minutes, according to Squawka.

Credit: Squawka.com

Possessing mobility and length, Rabiot can blossom into a turnover machine, a la Kevin Strootman.

Tracking back and combining with PSG wide-forward Edinson Cavani to dispossess then-Rennes (now Monaco) central midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko is another example of Rabiot's commitment. 

Subjective and statistical analysis suggest Rabiot has a complete playing style which can rival Paul Pogba.

 

Rabiot Negatives

French football journalist Jonathan Johnson tweeted about Rabiot's inflated ego

You may point to Pogba's arrogant, cocky and self-assured demeanour factoring in his rise.

Well how about Stephane Dalmat?

19 Oct 1999:  Stephane Dalmat of Marseille moves forward during the Champions League Group D match against Manchester United played at the Stade Velodrome, Marseille, France. The game finished in a 1-0 win for Marseille. \ Mandatory Credit: Ross Kinnaird/
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

One of the most gifted French footballers of his generation, Dalmat's career petered out due to his Nicklas Bendtner-esque attitude. 

Then-Lens manager Daniel Leclercq foreshadowed Dalmat's fall.

"At first, he [Dalmat] seemed very nice, very straightforward," Leclercq said, per James Eastham at When Saturday Comes. "But dig a little deeper and you see he has a lot to learn about general behaviour."

Dalmat's problems re-surfaced at Inter Milan, per Patrick Goss at Sky Sports: "Stephane Dalmat is believed to be the first dissenting voice of Hector Cuper's reign as Internazionale coach with the former Valencia boss reportedly unhappy with the French midfielder's attitude."

Then-Tottenham Hotspur caretaker manager David Pleat spoke at length regarding Dalmat being an enigma.

"The most difficult thing for any coach is to get inside his [Dalmat's] head, but his history would suggest that people have not persevered with him," Pleat said, per Sarah Edworthy at The Telegraph. "He's a strange boy. He's not too communicative but he knows what he wants."

Rabiot only flashes brilliance, as opposed to sustaining form over an extended period of time.

Performing would have kept him in PSG's starting XI rather than him needing to mount a public campaign for additional playing time. 

Rabiot talks a big game, but he hasn't delivered.

He has the same self-entitled mentality as Yoann Gourcuff, who was lambasted by AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini.

"He [Gourcuff] did not start studying Italian right away. He did not want to work on tactics. He was not always on time," Maldini said, per L'Equipe (h/t Diane Falconer at Reuters). "He did not show an intelligent way of managing himself."

GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 20: Shunsuke Nakamura of Celtic tackles Yoann Gourcuff of AC Milan during the UEFA Champions League Round 16, first leg match between Celtic and AC Milan at Celtic Park  February 20, 2007 in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

 

Bottom Line

Rabiot's situation at PSG parallels Pogba at Manchester United

Pogba's uncompromising stance of using his looming Bosman status to leverage then-United manager Sir Alex Ferguson for guaranteed playing time created an irreconcilable rift. 

"It's a bit disappointing because I don't think he [Pogba] showed us any respect at all," Ferguson said, per MUTV (h/t Luke Edwards at The Telegraph). "Pogba signed for Juventus a long time ago as far as we're aware."

Ferguson wrongly projected Pogba's upside. 

If Ferguson had known Pogba would develop into a world-class box-to-box midfielder, the Frenchman would still be at United, instead of turning into a cash-cow for Juventus.

Rabiot ardently believes his self-worth conflicts with PSG manager Laurent Blanc.

"I can understand he [Rabiot] is impatient," Blanc said, per Sky Sports. "But he must not forget he belongs to a very big club and you have to be patient in life."

Pogba was not patient at United and the same applied to Nicolas Anelka at PSG.

Wenger shrewdly exploited Anelka's situation, per Rob Hughes at The New York Times

Anelka, born of immigrant parents from Martinique, was plucked out of PSG by Wenger almost as soon as Wenger began working for Arsenal a decade ago. 

The French federation was furious that a coach from their own land had "stolen" Anelka for such a derisive £500,000 compensation.

Arsenal extracted a price 40 times what it had paid PSG for the young striker [when he was sold to Real Madrid].

16 May 1999:  Nicolas Anelka of Arsenal is dejected after the FA Carling Premiership match against Aston Villa played at Highbury in London, England.  The match finished in a 1-0 victory for Arsenal, however, they were unable to clinch the Premiership tit
Ben Radford/Getty Images

PAUL WHITE/Associated Press

Rabiot already has one foot out the door at PSG.

Unless he is forced to sit out his contract which would be a deterrent to PSG youngsters with seditious intentions, management will aim to sell him as soon as possible. 

It will be for a nominal fee since Rabiot is unwilling to extend his contract which expires in 2015, according to his mother and agent Veronique Rabiot, per Sky Sports.  

Yes, Rabiot's attitude is a red flag.

But he has the potential to be Arsenal's answer to Pogba.

From a financial point of view, signing Rabiot could be another Anelka-like transfer win for Wenger down the line. 

This is why Arsenal should push to sign Rabiot from PSG.

 

@allanjianga

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