Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot looks increasingly likely to leave the French capital in 2019, but the club is reportedly desperate to ensure he doesn't move to Barcelona on a free transfer next summer.
It's said to be Rabiot's priority to move to Catalonia, as Barca have shown the most interest in him, but Sport cited a report from Tuttomercatoweb that said PSG are determined to ensure that doesn't happen.
The animosity between the two is believed to have stemmed from Neymar's transfer in the other direction last year, when he joined PSG for a world-record €222 million (then £198 million). Rabiot could leave for free when his contract expires in June, and the report added he refuses to even meet the club for talks over a new deal.
As for his motivation to leave the Parc des Princes, French football writer Rich Allen recently referenced L'Equipe in a Twitter thread detailing some of Rabiot's supposed grievances in Paris:
Rich Allen 🇨🇵⭐⭐🇨🇵 @rich_allen85
2. His mum prefers to deal with Maxwell rather than sporting director Antero Henrique. Relationship with Henrique became so strained that Al-Khelaïfi had to try & resolve the situation. 3. Rabiot wants a salary close to that of Mbappe's. Somehow, other clubs remain interested!
Rabiot, 23, has long been linked with Barcelona, and the Catalan giants are no doubt attracted to the relative low-cost nature of his signature. The France international knows he could command higher wages on a free transfer, and the report added that's also part of his logic behind wanting to leave.
One could argue Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has little need for a player like Rabiot given the assets he has emerging in his academy. Carles Alena and Riqui Puig both impressed in their 4-1 Copa del Rey win over Cultural Leonesa on Wednesday, with each viewed as a gem of the club's academy for a long time.
Sports writer Andy West agreed their development looks encouraging, while he also touched on Rabiot's attitude as a potential concern:
The midfielder drew criticism when he turned down a spot on the standby list for Didier Deschamps' France squad at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Rabiot's quality on the ball, however, remains of an elite standard. He's a well-rounded midfielder who's capable of breaking up play before demonstrating his quality on the ball, and Angel Di Maria (13) is the only PSG player who has beaten his 12 Ligue 1 starts under Thomas Tuchel this term.
Squawka demonstrated Rabiot has passed not only in great volume but with quality throughout this campaign:
PSG would consider it a big blow if Rabiot joined Barca for nothing after they more than doubled the world record to take Neymar from them.
The French powerhouses have a little more than six months left to convince their star to stay, but it could prove futile, as Rabiot will be able to sign a pre-contract with any team outside Ligue 1 as of January 1.