Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has called the Red Devils’ move for Adrien Rabiot ‘reactive’ and spoken about two concerns regarding the Frenchman.
Erik ten Hag was hoping to bring in Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona to bolster his midfield ranks. But the Dutch playmaker is now close to joining Chelsea, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.
The Blues are on the verge of agreeing a £67.6million deal with Barca for De Jong. They only started the transfer talks a few days ago but have moved quickly to strike up an agreement.
In response, Manchester United have turned their attention to Juventus and France player Rabiot.
The central midfielder’s Juve contract expires next year and due to this they will let him move on this summer. This would be better than losing him on a free transfer next year.
Reports claim United and Juve have sorted out a deal for Rabiot. It will see United pay an initial £15m for him, which could rise to £18m through add-ons.
They now need to finalise a contract with Rabiot, though this will not be easy. His mother and agent Veronique is tough to negotiate with and is demanding a big weekly wage for her son.
As per Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport, they want around £162,000 a week as part of a three-year contract. United are unlikely to agree to this straight away and will probably try to reduce his demands slightly.
Ferdinand provides opinion on Adrien Rabiot to Man Utd
During an appearance on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel, Ferdinand was asked about Rabiot’s potential arrival.
He has questioned why United have come to the knee-jerk decision of going after the 27-year-old, instead of pursuing a player of De Jong’s quality.
The pundit also has concerns about Rabiot’s scoring ability and whether he is going to actually make United better.
“There’s no doubting that Rabiot is a seriously talented footballer,” Ferdinand said. “Great left foot, brilliant at carrying the ball and dribbling and taking the ball under pressure, can pass – very well over short distances especially.
“The position Man United probably see playing him is one of the holding players, or an eight. My biggest concern with that is that, if he’s going to be an eight, he doesn’t score enough goals.
“I think McTominay has got more goals over the last couple of seasons than him and he doesn’t get enough either. So will the fanbase be happy? Given that they’ve been going for Frenkie de Jong, Rabiot is obviously the second, third or fourth option.
“They’ve been waiting for the Frenkie de Jong situation to change and it hasn’t so this is a reactive signing. They thought they were getting Frenkie de Jong, ‘No, we ain’t getting him, we better go for someone else, who’s available?’ And it’s not always the best case scenario when that happens.
Rabiot ‘cheap’ but a ‘risk’ – Ferdinand
“I think it will be a risk. I don’t see the fee being much more than £20million, in today’s market it’s cheap considering. But at the same time, the biggest concern is: is he right for Manchester United? Is he going to make us a team that’s going to challenge stronger for Champions League positions? I don’t know.
“He’s played a lot of games for Juventus recently, he was at Paris Saint-Germain, he’s a France international. But for me he’s obviously a step down from Frenkie de Jong.”
Ferdinand continued: “Rabiot coming in, I don’t think it’s as gloomy as everyone thinks. He adds quality, whether he ups the levels on what we’ve got remains to be seen.”
Rabiot is certainly an intriguing signing for the Red Devils. He is a good player, but it’s unclear whether he is actually an upgrade on Fred or Scott McTominay.
Is Adrien Rabiot really the answer to Manchester United’s midfield woes?
With reports emerging that a fee has been agreed with Juventus for the Frenchman, is Adrien Rabiot really the answer to Manchester United’s midfield issues?
Plus, the player brings drama with him. His mother Veronique can cause issues due to her outspoken nature. Rabiot, meanwhile, has caused problems with the French national team and at Paris Saint-Germain in the past.
United officials clearly want to avoid further embarrassment in the transfer market, amid the De Jong saga. It seems they are now going after Adrien Rabiot as they know not many other clubs will rival them for his services. But it could be a transfer which comes back to haunt them.
Meanwhile, a journalist claims Ten Hag wanted to sign Timo Werner before his transfer from Chelsea to RB Leipzig recently.