Report: Barcelona in Pole Position for Adrien Rabiot, Star in 'Cold War' at PSG

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 30, 2018

Adrien Rabiot of Paris Saint-Germain during the UEFA Champions League group C match between Paris St Germain and SSC Napoli at the Parc des Princes on October 24, 2018 in Paris, France(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Barcelona are reportedly leading the race to sign Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot, who is said to be "fighting a cold war" at the Parc des Princes.

Mundo Deportivo reported tensions between PSG and Rabiot—whose contract at PSG expires in June—are at a high after he was benched for Wednesday's 2-1 UEFA Champions League win over Liverpool (h/t Sport Witness).

However, Sport Witness also mentioned that PSG manager Thomas Tuchel told RMC Sport that Rabiot's expiring contract had nothing to do with his dropping to the bench against the Reds.

Not for the first time in his PSG career, Rabiot will enter the final six months of his deal in January, and the indecision over whether he will stay or go appears to have soured the atmosphere—if not within the club, then certainly between Rabiot and some fans.

Get French Football News posted a video of supporters reacting negatively to his name's announcement prior to their 1-0 win over Toulouse on Saturday, when he assisted Edinson Cavani's superb winner:

Get French Football News @GFFN

How PSG fans reacted to Adrien Rabiot today... https://t.co/BRNmi21Nkx

Again, fans at the Parc des Princes could be heard on Wednesday booing Rabiot when he came on for Kylian Mbappe with five minutes remaining.

Rabiot is represented by his mother, Veronique, whom Barcelona would have to deal with should they wish to sign the playmaker—either for a fee in January or as a free transfer at the end of this season.

The 23-year-old could complement a midfield that had the highly promising Arthur Melo, 22, added to its ranks earlier in 2018. Arturo Vidal was also signed in the summer but isn't a long-term option at 31, while Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic are both 30 and will need to be replaced in the coming years. 

French football writer Jeremy Smith reported Tuchel and Rabiot were on frosty terms:

Jeremy Smith @jeremysmith98

Adrien Rabiot dropped from tonight's PSG squad following a reported bust- up with Thomas Tuchel. Surely spells the end for his PSG career now? https://t.co/kAIvQW3icJ

Things would appear to line up if that were the case. Marquinhos played in midfield for a second time in the Champions League this season on Wednesday, presumably as a replacement for Rabiot.

Podcaster Rich Allen commented that Rabiot's attitude issues could prove to be his downfall, and that's one aspect of his character Barca may need to be aware of:

Rich Allen 🇨🇵⭐⭐🇨🇵 @rich_allen85

There is little doubt that Rabiot is a talented player but until he sorts his attitude out he'll fail to fulfill his potential. Any club who wants to sign him must proceed with caution.

Rabiot's expiring deal raises the question as to whether signing him for free is too good an opportunity to pass up. Barca are said to sit at the head of the queue with not long remaining until the player can sign a pre-contract agreement on January 1.