Manchester United have a broad agreement in principle to sign Adrien Rabiot from Juventus.
Sky Sports News, following up on the earlier story broken by David Ornstein, described the deal as such, having used the same terminology to describe the deal United have had in place for Frenkie de Jong since last month.
But the Athletic journalist added an additional tidbit earlier today that will give fans sceptical of the club’s dealings reason for optimism.
On The Athletic Football Podact, Ornstein was quoted (via UtdDistrict) as saying:
“I suspect, from the sort of noises I’ve got around the Adrien Rabiot situation, that #mufc might look to do this deal additionally to whatever might happen or not with Frenkie de Jong.”
🗣️ @David_Ornstein: "I suspect, from the sort of noises I've got around the Adrien Rabiot situation, that #mufc might look to do this deal additionally to whatever might happen or not with Frenkie de Jong." [The Athletic Football Podcast]
— Utd District (@UtdDistrict) August 8, 2022
With Rabiot’s style of play bearing similarities to Frenkie de Jong in terms of his love for a dribble through midfield and his high link-up volume, it would have been natural to assume that his signing could be seen as an alternative to Erik ten Hag’s priority target.
Indeed, in arguably his best season in a Juventus shirt, for Maurizio Sarri he played in a role not dissimilar to the “connecter” role Fred has been occupying in the absence of a more suitable option.
Under Sarri, Rabiot would often share duties with Miralem Pjanic on the pitch, with the pair taking turns to aid the defensive line in building play from the back.
It would seem, therefore, that Rabiot and De Jong could function in midfield in a similar fashion at Manchester United, should both deals be completed.
If the Red Devils find themselves with both player joining in addition to Christian Eriksen, it would be difficult to argue that they had not strengthened upon last season’s midfield options.
The defeat against Brighton and Hove Albion on opening day has dampened the mood somewhat, particularly given United’s inability to convert possession into dangerous attacks.
While Rabiot comes with a rather unique set of baggage, along with other technically gifted midfielders, he could – at the very least – offer more in possession than the ‘McFred’ duo.