Man Utd are working on a deal to sign Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot and what that means for their long-running Frenkie de Jong pursuit has been revealed.
Manchester United opened their campaign with a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Brighton. The result marked the first time the Seagulls had ever defeated United in a competitive match at Old Trafford.
All three of Erik ten Hag’s new signings featured in the contest. Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen started, while Tyrell Malacia entered the action from the bench in the second half.
However, the club’s inability to land main target Frenkie de Jong ensured Ten Hag started the season with the much maligned midfield duo of Scott McTominay and Fred.
McTominay was a tad fortunate not to see red after an above-the-ankle tackle on Moises Caicedo. Fred lasted just 53 minutes before being replaced by Cristiano Ronaldo.
With their De Jong pursuit still no closer to completion, the Athletic now report a new target is in their sights. Adrien Rabiot is that man and the outlet state a move is being worked on right now.
The 27-year-old has one year remaining on his contract at Juventus. The report doesn’t cite what level of fee Rabiot will cost, though it’s unlikely to be high.
Rabiot has reportedly emerged as a ‘leading option’ at Old Trafford and is described as ‘high’ on a list of midfield candidates.
The move is in its early stages with personal terms yet to be agreed. However, the inference is Juventus are willing to sell and a deal can be made if United push.
Frenkie de Jong implications
The obvious question United fans will have is what does this mean for Frenkie de Jong?
The report addresses that question, stating a Rabiot move won’t necessarily mean their De Jong chase is abandoned.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has once again publicly stated his desire to retain De Jong this summer. The Athletic’s report again cites the key issue of deferred wages as a major stumbling block halting United’s progress.
Regardless, it’s noted United are still to decide whether to go full bore for Rabiot and ditch their De Jong pursuit, or whether they’ll push for both moves at the same time.
Clearly, for now at least, it is not a case of one or the other.
What would Rabiot bring?
At 27, Rabiot is vastly experienced having played at the top level for PSG and then Juventus since 2012. He also has 29 caps for France in his locker.
Juventus are understood to be willing to shift Rabiot on despite featuring 45 times across all competitions last term. He has repeatedly been linked with a move to Arsenal, though the Gunners weren’t reciprocal.
Rabiot would add energy and bite to United’s midfield if signed, though is far from a non-entity going forward.
He possesses a superior passing range to both Fred and McTominay and at the very least, would be an upgrade on those two even if he isn’t of De Jong’s calibre.