Manchester United may be about to take on another troublesome Frenchman, having just gotten rid of one.
The departures of Paul Pogba and others this summer have left new manager Erik ten Hag with a bare cupboard in terms of midfield options.
United have turned to Juventus outcast Adrien Rabiot, who is available for £15 million, after failing to secure Frenkie de Jong, the Ten Hag’s top transfer target, from Barcelona.
Rabiot, 27, isn’t particularly popular at Juventus and hasn’t replicated the form that established his reputation during the seven years he spent at PSG before that.
But it isn’t just on-field sluggishness that has harmed the reputation of a player who was once regarded as France’s golden boy.
Off-field squabbles and indiscretions, not only by Rabiot but also by his formidable mother and agent Veronique, have earned him a reputation as a difficult customer in the game.
However, Ten Hag and United are becoming increasingly desperate. Despite the club’s insistence that their interest in Rabiot was firm prior to Sunday’s season-opening loss to Brighton, the timing appears to be a reactionary move.
And Rabiot’s rap sheet contains numerous items that could cause United to live to regret their decision.
Rabiot was on the verge of breaking into the PSG senior squad after graduating from their academy in 2012.
Rabiot was supposed to travel to Qatar with the team for a mid-season tour, but his mother insisted on accompanying him.
Veronique, Rabiot’s uncompromising agent, enters the picture. After his father, Michel Provost, suffered a stroke in 2007 that left him with locked-in syndrome, she took over his career. Michel is paralysed but fully aware.
Her insistence on accompanying the tour caused friction, and Rabiot was eventually loaned out to Toulouse.
Even stranger, she allegedly insisted on attending all of their training sessions while there.
Two years later, Rabiot was on the verge of leaving PSG after Laurent Blanc demoted him to the reserves.
Veronique was waiting for Blanc as he left PSG’s Camp des Loges training facility one evening.
‘You can’t treat him like that. ‘I’m not going to agree to that,’ Blanc was told, presumably forcefully.
PSG had no choice but to call in security, but the confrontation appeared to work.
Rabiot’s contract with PSG was renewed – and on better terms – not long after he failed to secure a move to Roma.
France’s hopes of adding the European Championship to their World Cup glory last year ended when they lost on penalties to Switzerland in the last-16.
Afterwards, an extraordinary video emerged of Veronique confronting Mbappe’s father, Wilfried, after the PSG striker missed the decisive spot-kick.
It is thought she said: ‘It is embarrassing how he struck that, for a player of his level. He hit it too lightly, I hope you are going to scold him.’
Apparently during an earlier discussion, Veronique told Wilfried his son was ‘arrogant’, has a ‘big head’ and gets ‘too much protection from the press.’
All these problems have put a name tag to Rabiot, as being troublesome!