Manchester United may need to accelerate their plans to bring in a midfielder as Arsenal decide to make an immediate move for France’s World Cup star Adrien Rabiot.
The Juventus player was reportedly close to signing for the Red Devils in the summer, but an inability to agree terms with his mother (also, agent) led to a breakdown in negotiations.
And now, according to La Repubblica (via SportsWitness), Mikel Arteta has earmarked Rabiot as the ideal player to reinforce his midfield in the January transfer window.
So far this season, Arsenal have been able to depend on a revitalised Granit Xhaka to play the box-to-box role in their midfield, but the North London side lack cover for Swiss international.
Rabiot would likely be an instant upgrade for Arteta, regardless of the marked improvement in Xhaka’s performances.
Arsenal’s excellent form has seen them shoot to the top of the Premier League table this season and their board are likely to back Arteta in the winter in order to sustain their winning ways.
Rabiot is out of contract in the summer and will be able to negotiate with prospective clubs in less than two weeks.
But a transfer next month remains a string possibility, with Juventus wanting €15m for the Frenchman.
He has arguably been the Old Lady’s best player this season, with three goals and two assists in eleven Serie A appearances.
Rabiot was also on form for France’s run to the World Cup Final and has done nothing to quash speculation surrounding his future at Juventus, who themselves are facing financial difficulties.
With the player clearly of interest to Erik ten Hag, it is likely that his availability in January will put Man United on high alert.
Despite adding Casemiro and Christian Eriksen to the squad in the summer, midfield is still an area of concern for the Red Devils.
Eriksen, in particular, showed signs of fatigue in the run up to the World Cup, such was United’s dependence on the Dane to provide a creative spark from deep positions.
Ten Hag values Eriksen progressive passing from midfield, although his summer-long pursuit of Frenkie de Jong suggests that the manager would also like a player in that area of the pitch with good ball carrying skills.
Rabiot certainly fits that mould and could be a shrewd addition to the squad.
At a bargain price, he would be a good fit for the squad and would offer Ten Hag the opportunity to rotate his midfield – an opportunity he has scarcely had since taking the helm.
As it was in the summer, however, the main stumbling block would be the salary demanded by Veronique Rabiot, who is thought to want €10m-per-year.