Why Juventus Should Cut Their Losses on Problem Child Adrien Rabiot While They Still Have the Chance

When Juventus completed the free signing of Paris Saint-Germain star Adrien Rabiot, the entire football world collectively nodded its head, safe in the knowledge that nobody could pull off these coups quite like the Old Lady.

A young, exciting and promising midfielder, pinched from one of the biggest clubs in Europe – for absolutely nothing? They’ve done it again.

The young Frenchman was now rubbing shoulders with the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Fabio Cannavaro, Kingsley Coman, Dani Alves, Aaron Ramsey and many more who have all made the move to Turin without the pressures of a transfer fee weighing heavy on their shoulders.

It’s safe to say, he’s in elite company.

But just because he has followed in the footsteps of these giants, it doesn’t mean he can fill their boots. In fact, many in Turin are questioning if he’s worthy of even cleaning their studs. Less than a year into life at the Allianz Stadium, whispers are suggesting that Rabiot’s time in Serie A may already be up, with the likes of Manchester United and Everton eyeing a move for the out-of-favour Frenchman.

If Juventus had any sense, they’d be driving him to the airport in person.

Although some may label I Bianconeri’s signing of Rabiot as ‘classic Juve’, it was actually far from their normal business manoeuvre. When pursuing their potential free transfer signings in previous years, the Serie A giants targeted experienced players whose time at their then-current club was coming to a natural end.

The likes of Alves, Sami Khedira, and Fernando Llorente were proven stars, who had experience playing at the highest level, and their track record was reason enough to take the plunge.

Juve also looked to hoover up any young talent which wasn’t being given a fair crack of the whip at club level, and their relatively low risk strategy reaped massive rewards, turning the likes of Pogba and Coman into huge profit after they established themselves in top-flight football.

AC Milan v Juventus – Coppa Italia: Semi Final

Rabiot, on the other hand, fell somewhere in between those two criteria. At 24 years old, he was not a teenage prodigy begging for a crack at the big time, nor was he an experienced head looking for a new challenge.

Instead, the midfielder was simply a figure of misery in his surroundings, and his disruptive presence around the team was too much for even PSG, who banished him to train with the reserves for the final six months of his contract.

This treatment led to Rabiot’s mother (and agent) describing her son as a ‘prisoner’ in Paris, which all-but sealed his fate with the Ligue 1 champions. That’s the same mother who is reportedly pushing for her child to leave Juventus for the Premier League this summer, you’ll be shocked to discover.

And that wasn’t even the first example of such worrying character flaws. Rabiot publicly lashed out at France national team coach Didier Deschamps, after he was left out of the World Cup 2018 squad, and he subsequently refused to be named as a standby in case of injury.

He’d also endured conflict with former coach Thomas Tuchel over his attitude. A glowing CV.


But despite these glaring warning signs, Juve deemed him worthy of a gamble, and given that he caught the eye so noticeably in the PSG midfield for more than five years, it felt like a win-win situation for the Serie A giants.

If he lives up to the hype, then he’ll be a global superstar. If not, then he can be shipped off for a hefty sum and we can all forget this experiment ever happened.

But if something seems too good to be true, more often than not, it’s because it ain’t.

The fanfare that surrounded Rabiot’s arrival quickly turned to confusion, as he struggled to even make it onto the pitch for Juventus. Maurizio Sarri handed him 27 minutes of action in the opening game of the season, and that was the midfielder’s lot for the next three matches, as the Italian coach opted to select compatriot Blaise Matuidi in his place.

SSC Napoli v Juventus – Serie A

As the games wore on, Rabiot earned Sarri’s trust, and was a regular figure in I Bianconeri’s midfield, up until their final two matches. But despite making 17 league appearances, there was one question on every Juve fan’s lips.

What does Rabiot actually do?

Well, one brief glance at the 25-year-old’s statistics will tell you that he’s not an offensive midfielder. 0 league goals and 0 assists is concerning, but in fairness, that’s not really in his job description. Rabiot made his name as an elegant passer and distributor of the ball, and he has always been confident when dictating the pace of a game.

However, plenty of his best work often came from breaking up play, and taking a backseat as PSG’s attacking all-stars inflicted the major damage. It was a comfortable job, when you’re an efficient cog in the most expensively-built and overpowering machine in an entire country.

Juventus may be similar to PSG in their domination of Italian football, but they are by no means as financially superior to their rivals as the French champions. Serie A is a hard-fought battle for Juve, with different challenges being posed ever year by a number of adversaries, who are desperate to end the Old Lady’s monopoly of the scudetto.

And Rabiot might have been caught out by this. It’s possible that perhaps the midfielder hasn’t learned and developed quite as much as he thought he’d done during his time with les Parisiens. Games seem to pass him by in Italy, and he simply looks incapable of changing the outcome of a match. Not once has Rabiot grabbed a game by the scruff of the neck, and at a club like Juventus, that will not do.

The Frenchman flits in and out, but his periods of lethargy and ineffectiveness hugely outweigh his measly positive input. And Rabiot’s inability to impose himself stands in stark contrast to that of fellow midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur, who has convinced supporters that he is the future of the Juve midfield.

The Uruguayan star really has the lot, and at only 22 years old, he is ready to mix it with the big boys. With his combative style of tough tackling and an intelligent passing range, Bentancur looks a much safer bet to put your money on than the butterfly Rabiot, who flutters in and out of matches with such fragility.

And if that wasn’t reason enough to get rid, the summer arrival simply doesn’t fit with the club’s ethos and profile.

Olympique Lyon v Juventus – UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg

Even with Cristiano Ronaldo in the side, Juventus play a team game. It’s all about organisation, fighting for one another and getting the job done as a unit. Fino alla fine.

Rabiot sticks out like a man who has spent years relying on the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and Angel Di Maria to produce some individual magic to demoralise and steamroll their lowly opposition, rather than forcing the issue himself.

All in all, it’s not looking good for the midfielder.

Rabiot’s mother may be trying to force her son to test new waters, but he may end up being pushed off the plank before he can jump ship.


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