Paris Saint-Germain have spent the last few weeks securing the new contracts of midfielders Blaise Matuidi and Thiago Motta, now their attention has turned to former Arsenal target, and young local hope, Adrien Rabiot. However this time things aren’t going as smoothly as the Parisian club would have hoped. The 18-year’s contract expires in 2015, and if a new contract isn’t sorted soon, the France U20 player could become one of the most sought after free agents in Europe.
At first it seemed like the problem was just a case of the player wanting more money. The rumours on Sunday suggested that Rabiot’s adviser - part-time mother - had dismissed the original offer for financial reasons. The talk was that the offer of €50,000 a week was too far away from the €62,500 that 19-year-old French left-back Lucas Digne was being paid since joining in the summer.
Rabiot, right now, is the fifth choice central midfielder at the Parisian club, with January signing Yohan Cabaye struggling to starts and minutes, the young Parisian is likely going to spend more time on the bench than on the pitch, and this is apparently what his mother would like clarification on before any new contract is signed.
"We do not make our decisions based on financial criteria. They are important, of course, but the priority is the sports project. What game time Adrien will receive in the near future? Conditions need to be met so he can continue to grow? This is the most important thing!"
This season the midfielder, due to turn 19 in April, has only featured in 865 minutes of league action. That’s an average of 43 minutes per each of his 20 appearances this season (8 starts, 12 substitute apps). He spent the 2nd half of last season on loan at Ligue 1 side Toulouse and with 12 starts he played on average, almost 80 minutes per game. As he gets older, the captain of France’s U20 side is finding it increasingly difficult to play the cameo role.
PSG are suspected to be in the race to sign French midfielder Paul Pogba this summer, this would move Rabiot down to sixth place, unless either Marco Verratti or Thiago Motta moved on. The likelihood of either midfielder moving on seems very unlikely at the moment, and this is something Rabiot and his mother will need to think about.
With both Matuidi and Verratti rested for the second leg of the Champions League tie against Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday night, Rabiot will most likely get his chance to start and show the PSG hierarchy what they would be missing if the youngster was allowed to leave Paris (again).
This is going to be a very interesting case to follow towards the end of the season. Laurent Blanc will find it hard to bring Rabiot into the side until the title is secured, but he will be a very important player in helping Blanc rotate his midfield trio as the Champions League moves into the latter stages.
It will be even harder to convince Rabiot that he will get more playing time next season. Arsenal and other monitoring Premier League clubs must be ready to strike when the opportunity arises.