Farhad Moshiri’s riches have meant that Everton are always in the forefront of transfer rumours, and with Carlo Ancelotti now in charge at Goodison Park it appears there’s no name too big to link to the Toffees.
In recent weeks we’ve heard Zlatan Ibrahimovic and James Rodriguez mentioned as possible January targets, and now the latest star player the tabloids are fixating on is Adrien Rabiot.
The 24-year-old has been an enigma throughout his short career, winning Ligue 1 titles in six of the seven years (21 total trophies) he spent at Paris St. Germain, but plagued by off-the-pitch issues with managers and club management, and leading to his running out his contract with the French giants and being suspended for the last six months of the 2018-19 season.
Rabiot moved to Italian champions Juventus in the summer, and is currently on the second-highest salary in the entire Serie A, only behind Cristiano Ronaldo, making €9m per year (about £147,000 per week) - the perks of moving on a free transfer, something which Everton used to lure Bernard to the Premier League as well.
Since his move though, he has failed to make an impression at the Bianconeri despite ranking well on statistical measures. Rabiot lacked fitness to begin the season after being out of the game from December 2018, but once he was fit to play looked ill-at-ease in Maurizio Sarri’s quick passing system (aka ‘Sarri-ball’) which puts a premium on accuracy and mobility.
And now it looks like Juve are ready to move on from the player despite the midfield struggling for consistency and short of depth, with Sami Khedira out for six months following knee surgery, Rodrigo Bentancur inconsistent at best and Emre Can out of favour with Sarri. The British tabloids are reporting that Rabiot can be had in the January transfer window for a relatively cheap £21 to £25m.
UPDATE: CalcioMercato are also reporting that Juventus and Everton could work out a loan deal with the Blues paying the remainder of his half-year wages of €3.5m, not including any due bonuses.
Apparently Arsenal are in the lead for the player with new manager Mikel Arteta looking to bolster his defence and midfield, but Italian outlet Sport Mediaset are claiming Everton are the ones who are about to make the first move.
Looking at the players Ancelotti had at his disposal at his last stop in Napoli - Allan, Piotr Zielinski, Fabian Ruiz, Marek Hamsik - it’s no wonder that he’s looking to get some quality in the middle. With Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Andre Gomes on extended injury layoffs, Fabian Delph, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Morgan Schneiderlin and Tom Davies are not the same level of ball winner and distributors as what he’s been used to working with.
However, Rabiot also comes with a lot of baggage, and his mother (who doubles up as his agent) has been at the forefront of much vocal outcry whenever his playing minutes have dropped. Everton have already dealt with that drama from Romelu Lukaku’s entourage in the past and would be loathe to get into that again.
Then there’s the matter of his exorbitant wages. Bernard and Yerry Mina are the top earners at £120,000 and it’s doubtful Marcel Brands is going to want to break that mark for Rabiot when Arsenal will likely come in with a bigger salary packet for the Frenchman. Rabiot’s playing style will remind many Blues of his countryman Morgan Schneiderlin, who hasn’t necessarily endeared himself to the fanbase.
Rabiot is certainly an upgrade to the Everton midfield if an agreement can be made with his camp and Juventus, but appears to be an extravagant use of what might be limited resources in the January transfer window, especially when younger, more promising talent can be had for a fraction of the overall cost.