Adrien Rabiot was one of the big prizes of the last transfer window. The midfielder had seen his contract with Paris Saint-Germain run down, and the window was to be the last time that PSG could get reasonable value for him. A glut of big clubs were interested in the big 19-year-old, who had shown his quality playing over 1000 minutes in Ligue 1 for the champions the previous season.
But in the end it was not Arsenal, Chelsea or Roma who signed Rabiot. It was PSG, who extended his contract through 2019 in a shock November move. The Rabiot transfer rumor seemed to go off the boil. There was little reason for PSG to let a young player with such immense potential go, and now any suitor would have to pay through the nose to get Rabiot out of that contract. Rabiot had been benched at PSG, partly as punishment for refusing a new deal. With the contract signed, he has finally begun to appear for the French giants, playing in both of their last two league matches.
So this news probably requires some skepticism. But the Italian paper Il Tempo reports that Tottenham Hotspur have agreed to personal terms with Rabiot's agent and mother Veronique Rabiot. According to Il Tempo, Veronique Rabiot finalized the deal with Spurs technical director Franco Baldini. The report does not say that Spurs have agreed terms with PSG, so even if the report is true there may be another major hurdle to clear. PSG would surely be expecting a serious payout after locking Rabiot up into his early prime, and Spurs have, perhaps, something of a history of tough negotiating over fees.
Il Tempo suggests that PSG are happy with this arrangement because they will be able to collect a larger transfer fee thanks to Rabiot's contract. That is not entirely implausible, nor is it entirely crazy that Rabiot might be interested in moving to a club like Tottenham where he would likely be a first-choice central midfielder right away. Given Rabiot's experience at PSG, he might value that. At the same time, the report is thus-far unconfirmed by any other media outlets. If Rabiot really has made the shocking choice of Spurs over his many moneyed suitors, the news will get picked up quickly elsewhere. If it isn't being reported in various better outlets by the end of the day, you can probably dismiss this as #batcountry. But give it a day.
Because Rabiot is pretty fantastic. This kid was a quality starting central midfielder in Ligue 1 at the age of 17. He partnered to great effect in Toulouse' midfield with Tottenham's Étienne Capoue while on loan at the club. Last season in over 1000 minutes he put up numbers that would look good on a mid-career veteran.
Rabiot is extremely mobile and at six-foot-two more than strong enough to hold his own. A Rabiot-Nabil Bentaleb midfield pairing might feel like Spurs were playing a three-man midfield for all the ground they could cover. It's something to dream on, before reality likely sets in.