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Player Analysis: Why Erik ten Hag wants Adrien Rabiot

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Manchester United have seemingly made initial contact with Adrien Rabiot’s representatives to bring the free agent to Old Trafford ready for the new season. A year on from a deal that almost happened but collapsed due to various negotiating issues with Rabiot’s mother and agent Veronique.

So, why is it that Erik ten Hag is so eager to go in for him once more? What exactly does Rabiot bring to this side?

Rabiot has enjoyed a stellar season at Juventus after having his best ever output in a single season, 11 goals 3 assists across all competitions. This is one facet of his game that has shone through this season, with 5 of his goals coming with his head. This would be so beneficial to United, Rabiot himself scored more goals from corners than Man United in the league all season.

When looking at the players in which Man United have been liked to thus far in the summer, it is clear to see the picture that ten Hag is creating. He is fully implementing his 433/4123 he had at Ajax which turns into a 2323 in possession. Rabiot can very easily do a job in an advanced role in the system ten Hag is looking to implement, he is physical, got an eye for goal and for a big player has a fairly good technical on the ball ability. He has mainly been a 2nd and 3rd phase player this season at Juventus and has played very direct.

Which is evident when looking at his passing stats, he only makes 33.4 passes per 90 which puts him in the bottom 31% of players in his position. However, this does feel a symptom of the direct Allegri approach, with Juventus making the 10th most passes in the Serie A last season, however when at PSG he was in the top 1-3% for passes competed and pass accuracy, showing he can play as a high volume passing 8 as well.

This feels like a deal that Man United shouldn’t pass up on, with them seemingly willing to let up to 3 midfielders go in Donny, Fred and McTominay. Rabiot seems to be of the similar archetype of McTominay but far more experienced which is so important in midfield.

His physicality and decent technical ability allows Rabiot to be an excellent ball carrier, he is in the top 16% for progressive carries and top 12% for carries into the final 3rd. He is both very good on and off the ball, despite mainly focusing his play in the 2nd and 3rd phase which means that he ranks in the 22% for progressive passes received, he is also very good off the ball, using his frame to his advantage, he is very willing to cover ground and has decent defensive output for a midfielder with his attacking output.

He will also add more ability to our front line to better press from the front, ranking in the top 27% for tackles won in the attacking 3rd.

In a window in which there are many uncertainties a player that can add that level of depth for free feels like a deal that Manchester United have to benefit from.

I’d give it a 7/10 in terms of quality of the deal in relation to the player’s ability and price.

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