The Adrien Rabiot transfer saga is certainly coming to an end now. After being linked with moves to Barcelona, Real Madrid, Tottenham and Manchester United, the Frenchman has now arrived for Juventus medical and is expected to sign a bianconeri contract tomorrow.
It took some time in coming, but Juventus are signing another free agent after having signed Aaron Ramsey, Paul Pogba, Sami Khedira and Emre Can on free over the past decade. And it isn’t a bad signing at all, considering that they won’t have to pay any upfront fee for the former PSG man.
While Rabiot certainly has attitude issues that pertain to his mother-agent Veronique. But Juventus have a strong enough leadership to keep that under check. PSG didn’t have that many times and that costed them a very good player.
What Rabiot brings to the plate is something that no current Juve midfielder has apart from Miralem Pjanic and Ramsey. He brings technicality and some on-the-ball ability to the plate. Blaise Matuidi and Sami Khedira are aging players who can’t move much and can’t move the ball around too quickly. They can’t hold the ball up for more than three seconds. Their inability to do that meant that Juventus played a very dire brand of football last season under Massimiliano Allegri and it meant that the season went down as a rather drab and frustrating one for the Old Lady, despite the Serie A title win.
Maurizio Sarri- the new man in charge, won’t like to have a midfield that has Matuidi or Khedira in it. He wants players who can pass the ball around, hold it and dictate play from their position. Khedira relies on his physical presence while Matuidi relies on his excellent workrate. They’ve never been players who can recycle possession in the heart of the park.
But that is what Rabiot brings to the table- dynamism and on the ball ability. He hardly relies on his physicality on work-rate to play. He is more about creating and taking the ball forward into advanced positions. That is why he will be more useful to Juve under Sarri than the other two.
Even Rodrigo Bentancur isn’t too technical. While he’s young and has a long way to go, he isn’t the player who can play creative forward passes like what Sarri would want out of Jorginho or at Juventus- out of Miralem Pjanic. But Bentancur can still play as a second choice to the defensive midfielder, who could well be Pjanic.
Juve have signed two very good midfielders for nothing this summer and they’d fit right into Sarri’s system. That is brilliant business for a club that is about to sign Matthijs de Ligt- another player who fits into Sarri’s possession-oriented system.
Despite all that, Juve fans should not expect to win the UEFA Champions League in Sarri’s first season. This side has played pragmatic football for a long while they’ll take a while to play the Sarri way even when Juve have signed the players he’d need to make it work.