In the past few days Arsenal have been heavily linked to 19-year-old Paris Saint Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot. On Saturday PSG gave Arsenal permission to make an approach, with a bid then being accepted for the young Frenchman yesterday- making a £5.5m deal looking like it will be completed in the coming days.
The Arsenal fan base seems to be largely frustrated with the news, as they expected a big name arrival with the likes of Sami Khedira, William Carvalho and Morgan Schneiderlin being linked with a move to North London.
Despite the fact that I am also disappointed with the lack of big names currently being linked to the club, it does not overshadow my thoughts that Rabiot would be a decent signing for Arsenal.
Rabiot may be young but he has a wealth of experience having featured regularly for PSG last term and on-loan at Toulouse before that. He is tall, strong and has a keen eye for a decent pass- which is everything Arsenal are looking for with a defensive midfielder.
It’s worth saying at this point that Rabiot isn’t a natural defensive midfielder but neither is Mikel Arteta. Wenger is in the market for a long-term replacement for Arteta and Rabiot is the perfect player to be exactly that. Think of him as a hybrid created by mixing Arteta and Flamini.
He has the strong, physical presence of Flamini but is comfortable on the ball and has brilliant possession statistics. According to Squawka, Rabiot has an overall passing success rate of 90.3% over the last two seasons having made over 900 successful passes in that time.
Of course, an important area for a potential defensive midfielder is the defensive side of their game- which is what currently lets Mikel Arteta down. Rabiot is thoroughly capable in the defensive aspects of his game, though it does still require work. At 19-years-of age though, he has plenty of time to be built into the perfect player.
Rabiot could truly be the final piece of the jigsaw in Arsenal’s young squad. While he will require work to make him the immediate answer to Arsenal’s problems, the signing would provide Arsenal with a player for the long-term and will fill the void that has been left in the Arsenal squad for years.
On top of this, £5.5m is very cheap- especially in the current market. The ability, age and potential of Rabiot make this a very good signing for Arsenal and while I do not feel he should be the only midfielder brought in, he is certainly a player worth adding to our squad.
I see this as a similar situation to Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers arriving at the club. Debuchy was the short-term replacement for Bacary Sagna, whilst Chambers will be crafted into the long-term replacement. If Arsenal sign another defensive midfielder in his last 20’s, then he can be the immediate fix- whilst Rabiot can provide the success in the long run.
A 19-year-old defender with the ability to improve our squad and starting line-up, the potential to be a big player for Arsenal in the future and the one to replace the ageing Mikel Arteta. There’s no decision to be made really.
I feel that us Arsenal fans are disappointed with the comparisons with Rabiot to our other targets and are ignoring what Rabiot can provide to us. Yes, he is not currently the big name in world football that we crave- but he can be, comfortably. Sign him up, Arsene.