Manchester United are in exploratory talks with Adrien Rabiot about a move from Juventus, according to a new report from Italy.
The mercurial Frenchman is entering the final year of his contract in Turin and would face a pay cut if he were to stay at the club because of the salary capping that has been introduced since his arrival.
This could lead to a situation like that of Pablo Dybala, who is leaving the Old Lady as his contract expires to look for a better deal elsewhere.
Juve, for their part, are therefore expected to be willing to accept just €15 million (£12.8m) for Rabiot although they are hoping to get €20 million (£17m), according to Calciomercato.com.
“Rabiot … is really probing the market through the work of mother Veronique and the trusted intermediaries with whom he collaborates,” the outlet says.
“It is from the Premier League that something concrete is coming.
“Chelsea’s interest is real, but the situation in London… is still in progress, money is not a problem but a crowded squad is.
“In the last few hours, however, Manchester United have raised their antennas, proposing to the Rabiot clan that they intensify dialogue.
“In short, something is moving, it is something important. Juve aren’t saying no, Rabiot is thinking about it.”
This is explosive stuff from Calciomercato.
United are known to be looking for world class midfielders this summer and whilst Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong is attracting most of the attention, a sneaky offer for Rabiot would certainly be an interesting development, and a much cheaper option. The fact that they have been linked with him before also lends weight to the credibility of the report.
Barcelona are looking for €80 million for De Jong – who would also appear reluctant to leave Spain – more than four times the price of the World Cup winner.
At 27, Rabiot is at the peak of his career and on his day he is undoubtedly world class.
However, “on his day” could be the big gamble. His temperament is the thing that would worry many United fans if he were to join the club.
In replacing Paul Pogba, would United be substituting one brilliant but inconsistent and complicated Frenchman with another? For that matter, if Juventus manage to complete the signing of Pogba, wouldn’t they also?