The Daily Mirror reported on Monday morning that Wenger is looking to strengthen his midfield options come January, and after Arsenal’s defeat of City, surely any such signing will be needed to help Arsenal win their first title since their Emirates move.
Adrien Rabiot is a typical Wenger signing. Each summer the Arsenal fans see another young, midfielder type turn up with a clamour of expectation, only for the player to disappear into the youth ranks or out on loan potentially never to play for the First Team. Yet Rabiot bucks this trend. Whilst he is young, he wouldn’t be turning up in North London with the footballing world at his feet, need to serve an apprenticeship in the U-17s.
Rabiot is a winner and any such transfers will be more a decision taken by the 20 year old, rather than Laurent Blanc wanting to farm him out on loan for experience. Whilst the dominance of PSG could arguably diminish any collection of domestic silverware, Rabiot already has three league titles to his name, add to that the French cup and around 100 appearances for PSG, Rabiot has won more than most of the players that Wenger has nurtured through Arsenal’s fame academy.
Any deal seems to potentially be a 6 month loan, but for a player Wenger has tried to sign twice before, Arsene himself will hope that Rabiot isn’t another Kim Kallstrom (potentially one of the weirdest transfers in the last 5 years). A big question remains however, is this the player though that Arsenal need?
For 6 months, Rabiot will bring depth to a midfield that is about as fragile as your Nan’s favourite tea set, and in that capacity he certainly could be more important come Easter amidst injuries and when Arsenal find themselves needing capable hands to win games. Conversely however you have to ask the question, how much impact will Rabiot have? He will have to settle into a new club, in a new league, at a point in the season where any club will need their signings to hit the ground running. It would be a massive ask of the young Frenchman.
I am a great admirer of Wenger, the way his has managed Arsenal through the stadium transition and the philosophy he stands by so vehemently but the question of midfield depth has reared its head almost every transfer window for 5 years. Whilst Rabiot seems destined for big things, if Wenger is looking to France or specifically PSG for reinforcements why wasn’t Wenger looking last summer. PSG are spoiled with riches in the midfield and with the new money Arsenal now find themselves with surely a move for a player like Blaise Matuidi or even potentially Thiago Motta in the summer made more sense? Both players are accomplished defensive shields for the back four and in the case of Matuidi, his high-energy levels coupled with his ability to break up play would have offered more than ample cover for Coquelin.
Is Rabiot someone Arsenal needs in January for 6 months? Maybe. He would offer depth to Arsenal’s midfield but is Rabiot the player the Arsenal midfield really need? I can’t help but think Arsenal fans might want someone held in a little more esteem than the young Frenchman.