Remember Adrien Rabiot? The curly-haired midfielder has gone off the radar in recent months after being placed in exile at Paris Saint-Germain.
The Frenchman dared to take on the Ligue 1 champions when it came to his future as he refused to commit to a new deal.
Not only has he not kicked a ball in 2019, Rabiot has not been involved in PSG’s match day squads but yet he remains one of the most exciting free agent options this summer.
Adrien Rabiot is close to ending his nightmare exile at Paris Saint-Germain with his contract up
The tough-tackling midfielder will not be short of suitors despite not playing so far this year
Rabiot began to turn heads when he broke through into the first-team at PSG under Carlo Ancelotti with a host of European giants, including Barcelona, Juventus and Tottenham, monitoring his performances.
Yet since turning down a new deal earlier in the season, Rabiot has had a miserable time of it in Paris.
As well as finding himself in some sort of match day exile, he was handed a two-week suspension back in March for his conduct after PSG’s dramatic Champions League exit to Manchester United.
The club were unhappy he was seen partying in a nightclub in the hours after the defeat, and also liking a tweet from former United defender Patrice Evra which celebrated PSG’s acrimonious exit.
Rabiot’s issues date back to 2014 under Laurent Blanc when his mother and agent showed her steeliness after finding her son dropped from the side.
According to the Guardian, Veronique, Rabiot’s mum, voiced her annoyance at the manager’s decision when they came face-to-face in a car park outside the ground.
The French midfielder has not been in a match day squad since opting against a new PSG deal
Rabiot has caught the eye in recent years for his ability to drive through midfield box-to-box
Only weeks later he had a new deal but many in Paris sensed the agent-club dynamic was far from serene.
Rabiot continued his ascent under Unai Emery as he began to stamp his authority in a side that featured Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi.
A box-to-box midfielder with a gangly frame, the potential for him to recapture that form is bound to see clubs fight for his signature this summer.
Barcelona lodged an offer last summer – swiftly rejected by PSG – and it was soon after that the ‘war’ began. The club’s passionate ultras booed his name and showed off banners voicing their anger at a player they felt was showing an ego too big for the club.
He reiterated in December that he would not be signing a new deal and since then, he has not been seen.
Then came his furore at international level which led to an exile from Les Bleus. Rabiot was so affronted by Didier Deschamps’ decision to place him on the standby list for the 2018 World Cup, the player decided he would pass up the offer and watch the tournament – in which France won it – at home on television.
His profile in France had been savaged in a matter of months, all due to a decision to look for pastures new.
As well as falling out with PSG, he is also out of the picture for France boss Didier Deschamps
He has bundles of talent but has gained a reputation of having an ego due to events at PSG
ADRIEN RABIOT CV
2008 Manchester City
2009–10 Pole Espoirs de Castelmaurou
2010–12 Paris Saint-Germain
2012–14 PSG B
2013 Toulouse (loan)
2013 Toulouse B (loan)
Rabiot’s mother was ready to add fuel to the fire back at club level as in the wake of his isolation from team-mates, she complained to the French players’ union – the UNFP – over her son’s treatment
She was incandescent that ‘no one would accept this kind of situation in any French company’ and the relationship, already heavily strained, was now over.
Veronique has stepped up to be the dominant parent in her family after Rabiot’s father Michel suffered a stroke in 2008 – just before the youngster joined Manchester City’s academy.
His father’s stroke – which now sees him suffering from locked-in syndrome – has shaped his son moving forward.
In an interview with Le Parisien in 2017, Rabiot said: ‘Unless you’ve experienced this illness you don’t know what it’s like. It’s a very frustrating feeling.
‘Ever since his stroke, when I go out on the pitch, I’m fighting for him too. He was the one who introduced me to football and he knows it very well.
‘He still has all his cognitive functions, he’s the same on the inside. When I told him I was turning pro I could tell by his look that he was proud.’
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is said to be an admirer as he looks to bolster Manchester United’s squad
PSG have blasted his ‘professionalism’ since the turn of the year but this toxic relationship is approaching its expiration date. Come June 30, the player can walk free from the club he made 150 appearances for.
With absolutely no chance of a change of heart between player or club at PSG, the question now is what next? United are the latest to add their name to the list of clubs keen on recruiting the head-strong midfielder.
He is comfortable in possession and would have chemistry with current United stars Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba, should the latter avoid the clutches of Real Madrid.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is desperate to add to his midfield this summer and having missed out on the Champions League, Rabiot represents an affordable target in comparison to £89million Lyon star Tanguy Ndombele.
A move to Old Trafford would also recognise a second crack in England having only had a brief experience as a youth player in those four months at City.
Homesickness was rumoured to be the reason his last spell in Manchester was cut short, but given the mood in Paris right now, he may welcome the drizzly conditions by Salford Quays.
Despite not kicking a ball in 2019, Rabiot got his hands on the club’s latest Ligue 1 title recently
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