Man Utd kick themselves for missing out on World Cup hero Rabiot

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • 23 Nov 2022 16:52 GMT
  • 4 min read
FT Desk 23 Nov 2022 16:52 GMT 4 min read
Adrien Rabiot, France, World Cup 2022

Manchester United are regretting missing out on Adrien Rabiot this summer as the France and Juventus midfielder is enjoying the best start to a season in his career.

Rabiot was very close to joining Man Utd in pre season, with the 27-year-old locked in advanced negotiations with the Red Devils.

It is widely understood that Juventus and Man Utd agreed on a transfer fee worth €18 million plus €6m in add-ons.

World Cup 2022 top scorers

World Cup 2022 most assists

World Cup 2022: Teams, fixtures, results, favourites

World Cup all-time top scorers

Ronaldo vs Messi at the World Cup: How their stats, goals, assists and performances compare

All that was required to complete the move was for Rabiot to agree personal terms.

However, Rabiot requested a huge increase on the €7 million per year that he earns at Juventus.

His mother Veronique was blamed for these excessive demands, also asking for a huge signing-on bonus.

Subsequently, Man Utd refused to meet these salary demands and the transfer fell through.

Instead, United opted to pay substantially more in buying Real Madrid legend Casemiro for over €70m.

United may regret this decision as, while Casemiro has had an average start to his career at Old Trafford, Rabiot has been arguably Juve’s best player in 2022-23.

He is enjoying the best start to a season in his career and has already scored five goals in all competitions for his club.

This is just one goal short of his best ever tally for a season, having hit six goals for PSG during the 2015-16 campaign. He also has two assists.

Rabiot on fire in France

And Rabiot has brought his club form to the World Cup with a brilliant performance in France's World Cup opener.

He grabbed a goal and and assist as France thrashed Australia 4-1.

Indeed, he proved very decisive in that game as he headed home the equaliser as France trailed to an early goal. He then set up Olivier Giroud's first goal to put France 2-1 ahead.

Rabiot has become an untouchable in Didier Deschamps' team, and taken on extra responsibility following a string of injuries to key players such as Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante.

Increasingly he is become a man for the big occasion. The highlight of his club season came a few weeks ago when Juventus beat bitter rivals Inter 2-0 in the Derby d’Italia.

Rabiot opened the scoring with a brilliant finish with his weaker right foot, glancing the ball in from Filip Kostic’s pass.

The midfielder has been key in Juventus going on a six-match winning run in Serie A to take them back into top four contention after a disastrous start to the campaign.

Man Utd certainly could have done with Rabiot’s goals as their midfielders have offered virtually nothing from an offensive point of view.

Scott McTominay (0), Fred (1), Christian Eriksen (0), Casemiro (1), Donny van de Beek (0) and Bruno Fernandes (2) demonstrate United’s problem in the centre of the pitch.

Rabiot’s contract at Juventus expires at the end of the season so United could well decide to return for him then on a free transfer.