Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot has reportedly been offered £9 million per year to sign for Barcelona before the transfer window closes on Aug. 31.
PSG want the playmaker to stay but remain more than £1.8 million short of matching Barca's offer, according to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Calciomercato.com). The Blaugrana are making their move while Rabiot refuses to extend his contract, which is set to run out next summer.
Calciomercato described Rabiot's relationship with PSG as one "growing really tense," saying the player has "his heart set on a move to the Catalan side."
Barcelona appear to have been stepping up their attempts to bring over Rabiot from the French capital in recent days. Mundo Deportivo also reported the Camp Nou club is ready to offer £45 million for the midfielder (h/t MailOnline's Joe Strange), who is also wanted by north London Premier League rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
Barcelona are said to be wary about waiting until Rabiot is available on a free transfer in 2019. That's likely because the club knows a schemer as gifted as Rabiot will attract a lengthy queue of suitors if there's no transfer fee to pay.
However, there is plenty of doubt in Paris that Rabiot will stay at the Parc des Princes beyond this transfer window. Earlier in August, PSG manager Thomas Tuchel told Canal+ that Rabiot must choose (h/t ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson):
Jonathan Johnson @Jon_LeGossip
Thomas Tuchel to Canal+ re: Adrien Rabiot: “I cannot be sure that he stays. It is up to him. He knows, I hope he knows, that I love working with him. Adrien has great potential. He must improve to become a top player. It is up to Adrien to say if he wants to stay here.” PSGSMC
If Rabiot does decide to move to La Liga, he could hardly pick a better time to join Barcelona. The club has a vacuum to fill in midfield after Andres Iniesta moved to Japan.
It means the Blaugrana need fresh vision and guile at the heart of the team. The need could increase with Ivan Rakitic's future uncertain.
Coincidentally, the Croatia international is wanted by PSG, according to Lluis Miguelsanz of Sport. Miguelsanz noted that while Les Parisiens have yet to make an offer, they see the 30-year-old as "what's needed to complete their midfield."
Rakitic would offer PSG the energy and drive missing from a midfield otherwise defined by the technical quality of Rabiot and Italian maestro Marco Verratti. Meanwhile, the France international would give the Spanish champions artistry alongside the brawn of summer import Arturo Vidal and the defensive instincts of Sergio Busquets.
Comfort in possession defines Rabiot's game:
He would be a natural fit for the way Barca are expected to play, but PSG shouldn't let Rabiot go without first securing a marquee replacement.