Another week, another step forward in Adrien Rabiot's loan move to Tottenham Hotspur. Today, the French new agency RMC has published an in-depth report on how this loan came to be and how Spurs became the favorites to win the young midfielder's services. It is written in an "our sources say" style which does not clearly lay out how well-sourced the narrative is. But the story RMC tells is compelling and highly plausible.
The key new piece of reporting here is on the French star's contract. Remember, there were a number of rumors surrounding Rabiot last summer because his contract with Paris Saint-Germain had run down. PSG seemed loath to let their teenage star go for less than a huge transfer fee, but Rabiot refused to re-sign. He started the season without a new contract and was left off the team sheet for months, seemingly as punishment. Finally, Rabiot signed a new contract and began to receive at least sporadic playing time.
It turns out, per RMC, that Rabiot's people made sure to include a clause that would allow him to go out on loan in January if he wanted.
Selon nos informations, le clan Rabiot a pris soin d'inclure dans ce nouveau contrat une clause permettant un prêt sans option d'achat lors du mercato d'hiver. Une option qui a de grandes chances d'être activée lors de ce mois de janvier.
This means that if Rabiot agrees with another club to take him on loan in January, PSG cannot object. This also explains why the reports have all been of a report with no option to buy—the contract only permits the loan if the agreement does not include such an option.
Further, RMC places Rabiot's wages at €250k per month gross. That's about £40-50k per week, which is easily within Tottenham's wage structure. RMC reports that Tottenham are prepared to pay 70 to 100 percent of the contract, but it seems unlikely that wages will be a deal-breaker.
Finally, the report explains how Tottenham became the front-runners for Rabiot even though just about anyone could have him on loan, per his contract. The key here is Veronique Rabiot, the midfielder's mother and agent. First, Roma approached about a loan, but they angered the Rabiots in some unspecified way. Arsenal were interested, but a loan with no option to buy was not good enough for the Gunners. Back in December, it was reported that Franco Baldini had met Veronique Rabiot and hashed out an agreement. At the time, this seemed like only part of the story, since PSG would have to approve any deal. But in fact, it seems that successful approach may be determinative, as a loan only requires Rabiot's agreement.
Now, it is only a six-month loan, nothing more. But the story of Rabiot at PSG does not read like a young man looking for a few starts elsewhere to prove himself to his parent club. His initial refusal to re-sign, then being frozen out of the squad, then getting only light playing time since, all sounds like a relationship in the process of breaking down. RMC reports that there is a "serious conflict" between PSG and Veronique Rabiot and that the only person at the club who speaks with her is assistant sporting director Olivier Létang. And Létang, the report explains with some irony, has been tasked with explaining why regular playing time would not be in Rabiot's interest. Yeah, that will go over well.
So, this all sounds like a very strong report to me. Rabiot would be coming on just a six-month loan with no option to buy, but given his fraught situation in Paris, a loan is also an opportunity. If the midfielder enjoys him time in London, gets a first-team role, and expresses to PSG that he does not want to return, that could form the basis for a permanent transfer agreement. It is a risk, but apparently it is a risk that Spurs are prepared to take.