Meet the French youngster who has Europe's biggest clubs lurking

Tim Simon profiles Adrien Rabiot, the PSG youngster who is interesting several of Europe's biggest clubs...

The 60-second story

FACT FILE

  • Name: Adrien Rabiot
  • Date of Birth: 3/4/1995
  • Height: 6ft 2in
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Club: PSG (31 apps, 2 goals)
  • Previous Clubs: Creteil, Manchester City, Pau, Toulouse (loan)
     

Born in Saint-Maurice, a south-eastern suburb of Paris, Adrien Rabiot’s rise to the Paris Saint-Germain first team has been a rocky one. He spent the majority of his early youth career at his local side US Créteil-Lusitanos and after a brief stint at Manchester City in 2008, he returned to his roots later that year. Following his homecoming, Rabiot was quickly scouted by the current French champions and tied down to a youth contract, much to the delight of his PSG-supporting father, who unfortunately suffers from locked-in syndrome.

After two years of hard work, Rabiot seized an opportunity to play for the first team during the summer of 2012 and became the first home-grown player to be offered a professional deal since rich Qatari businessman Sheikh El-Khelaifi bought the club. Having played at all levels of French youth football and off the back of a successful loan spell at Toulouse in the second half of last season, Rabiot is now a fully-fledged member of the PSG senior squad.

Why you need to know him

Rabiot is seen as the future of PSG’s midfield. Under such a wealthy chairman, whose policy involves buying plenty of established stars, the 19-year-old has managed to secure his place in the first team squad. After playing much of his youth career as a more advanced central midfielder, Rabiot has been moulded into a more deep-lying playmaker who provides competition for Marco Verratti and Yohan Cabaye.

But after making 23 league outings last season, expect a breakthrough in the next couple of years. Top European clubs will be interested in his services should PSG not look to build around one of their own.

Strengths

Rabiot’s exquisite ball control and composure in possession is matched by his positioning and work-rate off it. The French youngster keeps the game ticking over and is very efficient in doing so, having maintained a 90% pass success rate over the course of his league appearances last term. There is plenty of variety to his artistry with the ball; Rabiot can keep the game simple or execute more challenging through-balls and has been tasked with playing in that more advanced midfield role at stages in his PSG career due to his obvious playmaking capabilities. His sheer reliability on the ball combined with his keen eye for a pass through the opposition lines makes him one of the most promising midfielders on the continent.

In his early career, Rabiot’s exceptional tactical awareness and eye for an interception masked his unwillingness to get involved in the physical side of the game. Despite not being known for his tackling in his early days, he is beginning to attempt more of them and show that he is capable of winning possession back when doing so.

Weaknesses

You would expect a central midfielder standing at 6ft 3in to be a truly imposing figure. Although Rabiot is a threat aerially due to his height, he needs to bulk up slightly. His work ethic and willingness to track back are admirable but you get the feeling he could get exploited if he came up against a dominant presence such as Yaya Toure or Paul Pogba on a big European night in the future.

Naturally, when you think of a midfield schemer you immediately glance at how many chances on goal he has managed to create over the course of a season. Rabiot may have been playing in a deep role in PSG’s system but his 2013/14 tally of 10 chances created should definitely be improved upon next year.

They said…

Despite the signing of Cabaye in January, PSG manager Laurent Blanc went on record to say Rabiot is still firmly in his long-term plans if he stays patient. “I have a lot of esteem for that boy, who has a big potential. During the first part of the season he proved he could expect more time in the team. I can understand he is impatient, but he must not forget he belongs to a very big club and you have to be patient in life. I hope he will stay.”

Did you know?

Aged just 13, after six troublesome months in England Rabiot left Manchester City due to homesickness after struggling to communicate with team-mates and staff. He had a very tough time on the other side of the Channel as he failed to make an impression or adjust to the new lifestyle.

What happens next?

TALENTSPOTTER RATINGS

  • Shooting 5
  • Passing 9
  • Heading 6
  • Tackling 6
  • Pace 5
  • Work-rate 7
  • Crossing 6
  • Creativity 7
  • Dribbling 6

Who knows? Veronique, Rabiot’s mother, recently revealed to Tuttosport that her son has had no contact with PSG about extending his contract, which runs until 2015. “The future of my son is now on standby. I have not had contact with Juventus or another club. Clubs must first apply to PSG. Adrien needs to play and be part of a project that involves him directly.”

If Rabiot hadn’t picked up a knee injury in January, PSG may not have signed Cabaye. However, at the time they were struggling for midfielders so an arrival became necessary, meaning once Rabiot returned his chances to impress were more restricted than before.

Links with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Juventus swiftly and inevitably followed, and judging by the latest developments coming out of Rabiot’s camp there could be some truth to these rumours. Although, you get the feeling a long-term stay at the Parc des Princes is more likely because the Parisians would be foolish to let one of their most promising home-grown talents leave the club.


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