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Tottenham linked again with PSG’s Rabiot, but it’s probably a contract play

Poch probably likes him! Spurs probably aren’t really serious.

Paris Saint-Germain v RSC Anderlecht - UEFA Champions League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

We’re in a two-day pause from World Cup action, and that means there’s now a little space for the transfer rumors to start kicking into gear again. Take this one, from France Football (via the Mirror): apparently Tottenham Hotspur are considering reigniting their interest in PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot.

It’s not that crazy, at least on the surface. Spurs have been tracking Rabiot for a long time, and tried to sign him on loan back in 2015 as a teenager. That deal fell apart partially because PSG didn’t want to sell, and reportedly in part because of push-back from Rabiot’s mother, who is also his agent. Rabiot made headlines earlier this summer by refusing a call to join France’s World Cup squad because he was asked to play a deeper role under Didier Deschamps.

He’d be a pretty good fit at Tottenham, but there are a couple of huge problems with this rumor. First, and most importantly — there’s not a lot to go on from the source. The reference to Tottenham is stated only in the print edition of France Football and not online, and the mention is somewhat fleeting, only really stating that Mauricio Pochettino likes him as a potential Mousa Dembele replacement, and that Arsenal are also interested.

Secondly, as the Mirror notes, this seems more likely to be a deliberate leak to the French media to try for an improved contract at PSG. Tottenham should be used to being a stalking horse for agents trying to get their clients improved deals. It happens all the time — say your client wants to leave, link them with a move for Spurs which is an upwardly-mobile club with ambitions, and see if the other club bites. It makes it super frustrating as a Spurs supporter since it means that Tottenham is linked to all sorts of fun and exciting players that really have no intention of signing.

It’s also not clear if PSG would sell if Rabiot doesn’t cause a stink and try and force a move. With the rumors swirling of a Kylian Mbappe to Real Madrid transfer, it seems like it might be a bad time to try and slip out of town.

Rabiot would be a hugely expensive signing for Spurs, and a very good one — he’s 23, talented with the ball, and would be an exciting addition to a Tottenham midfield that needs an injection of creativity. But I don’t see this happening. Still, file this one away in your back pocket just in case I’m wrong.