12152017

How Man City missed out on Adrien Rabiot after having him in youth squad

Aged 13, with a mass of unruly hair, a young boy in Manchester City training gear poses for a picture. Aged 21, with a mass of unruly hair, a young man in a PSG shirt looks a picture of smug satisfaction after scoring against Manchester City in the Champions League.

Another time, a less hands-on mother and maybe City would still employ the midfield talent, who spent six months at the club in 2008 but returned to France in a haze of recriminations.

The world of Adrien Rabiot has often seemed to be rather complex.

Adrien Rabiot celebrates putting Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 ahead against Manchester City on Wednesday

Adrien Rabiot celebrates putting Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 ahead against Manchester City on Wednesday

PSG midfielder Rabiot (left) takes the ball away from City's Fernandinho (right) at the Parc des Princes

PSG midfielder Rabiot (left) takes the ball away from City’s Fernandinho (right) at the Parc des Princes

RABIOT’S WHIRLWIND CLUB CAREER

YOUTH 

2001 – 2003 Creteil

2003 – 2004 Alfortville

2004 – 2008 Creteil

2008 Manchester City

2008 – 2009 Pau

2009 – 2010 Pole Espoirs de Castelmaurou

2010 – 2012 Paris Saint-Germain

SENIOR

2012 – 2014 Paris Saint-Germain B

2012 – Paris Saint-Germain

2013 – Toulouse (loan)

2013 – Toulouse B (loan) 

His is a tale of prodigious talent, bold moves, and one parent willing to upset apple carts for her son and another who can only communicate by moving his eyelids. 

The son also happens to be on the radars of some of the Premier League’s elite, with Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham all reported to be monitoring a player who is reluctant to commit his long-term future to Paris.

His first fling with an English club came eight years ago, after City scouts saw him playing for Creteil in Paris and recruited him to their academy.

What happened next is open to some debate. Homesickness is reported to have played a major part in the breakdown of the relationship, but Rabiot’s mother, Veronique, was also vocal in claiming he was not being treated appropriately.

The strain of being away from home would have been magnified by the condition of his father, Michel, who had suffered a stroke a year before Rabiot came to City.

Rabiot (centre left) challenges City left back Gael Clichy (No 22), watched by manager Laurent Blanc (right)

Rabiot (centre left) challenges City left back Gael Clichy (No 22), watched by manager Laurent Blanc (right)

Rabiot as a youngster with Manchester City

Rabiot as a youngster with Manchester City

Following the stroke, he developed locked-in syndrome, meaning his movement and communication was limited to his eye lids.

Rabiot stayed only six months at City before returning to France, where he bounced between a pair of small clubs in the south of the country. 

He signed for PSG’s academy at 15 and after signing his first professional contract at 17, he discussed the challenges of his father’s condition in an interview with Le Parisien.

He said: ‘Unless you’ve experienced this illness you don’t know what it’s like. It’s a very frustrating feeling.

‘Ever since his stroke, when I go out on the pitch, I’m fighting for him too. He was the one who introduced me to football and he knows it very well. 

‘He still has all his cognitive functions, he’s the same on the inside. When I told him I was turning pro I could tell by his look that he was proud.’

Rabiot’s career at PSG, on the surface at least, has been a glaring success.

He was only 16 when Carlo Ancelotti asked him to train with the first team and, in August 2012, he became the youngest player to represent the club in Ligue 1. 

He later duplicated the achievement in the Champions League and has appeared in all the France age-grade sides up to and including the Under 21s.

Across the past four seasons, including a spell on loan at Toulouse, he has played a part in winning in Ligue 1 four times, the Coupe de France and the League Cup. 

His emergence is reported to be one reason why Yohan Cabaye was allowed to leave for Crystal Palace.

But among all the trophies, not everything has been smooth. His mother is frequently parodied in France for her claims that her son deserves more playing time.

In his four first-team seasons, including this one, his PSG league starts read: one, 12, 10, 17. They point to moderate progress for a player who only turned 21 last weekend.

Rabiot (No 25) is hugged by team-mate Edinson Cavani during PSG's 2-2 Champions League draw with City

Rabiot (No 25) is hugged by team-mate Edinson Cavani during PSG’s 2-2 Champions League draw with City

The 21-year-old slides on his knees in celebration of his 59th minute strike in the quarter-final first leg 

The 21-year-old slides on his knees in celebration of his 59th minute strike in the quarter-final first leg 

Yet, evidently, the player and his family feel he has been under-used. The complaints have been numerous.

In December, Rabiot said: ‘I’ve asked the president for a loan move in January if my time on the field is insufficient. It’s something that he can’t refuse me – I know he likes me very much.

‘When you train all week, you want to be on the field. Sometimes it’s not possible and it’s frustrating.

‘Paris is my city. It’s great to play here. If I could impose myself here, it would be brilliant. I would be ready to play my whole career at PSG if I was a starter. I would see things differently, that’s for sure.’

Since those comments, he has become an integral part of the club’s starting 11 and his goal against City on Wednesday night added an extra dash of drama to what has been an interesting career storyline.

What happens next could prove fascinating, with his contract up in 2019 and the midfielder open to options. He could yet end up a Premier League player, after all.

Rabiot's emergence is reported to be one reason why Yohan Cabaye was allowed to leave for Crystal Palace

Rabiot’s emergence is reported to be one reason why Yohan Cabaye was allowed to leave for Crystal Palace

What Next?

Recent Articles

Leave a Reply

You must be Logged in to post comment.