Very few players have graduated from the academy to the first team recently at PSG, but one player who has done exactly that is young, French holding midfielder Adrien Rabiot.
The 20-year-old is a distinctive figure on the pitch, with his shaggy hair and long legs, but it's his performances in the heart of Les Parisiens' midfield which have caught the eye of admirers around Europe.
One manager who will be keeping a close eye on his progress is Arsene Wenger, especially since a long-term knee ligament injury has ruled Arsenal midfield stalwart Santi Cazorla out for the next three to four months.
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Determination and ambition
Rabiot's story is somewhat a strange one. As a youngster he fluttered around various semi-professional teams in the Parisian suburbs and then joined Manchester City as a 14-year-old. His time in England was short lived and he moved to another small-time French club, Pau. His break came in 2010 when PSG took notice of his developments and offered him a place in their youth setup.
Since then his trajectory of progression has been both impressive and constant. He has represented his country at every junior level and is now knocking on Didier Deschamps' door for a senior call-up. He is undoubtedly one of the most talented young players in Ligue 1, and still only 20, Rabiot has shown immense determination to get to where he is today and he seemingly has the ambition to have a long and successful career.
Frustration over lack of gametime
Rabiot has played over 60 times for PSG, but since his breakthrough into the first team squad, he has seen more established and trusted midfielders stand in his way. Yohan Cabaye was previously ahead of him in the pecking order before his move to Crystal Palace, and he now has to contend with Blaise Matuidi, Marco Verratti and Thiago Motta, all of whom manager Laurent Blanc seems to favour. It is perhaps understandable that Rabiot has grown frustrated at his status as a bit-part player at Parc des Princes.
His mother Veronique, who also acts as his agent, spoke out in the summer about her son's frustration, the Daily Mail reported her as saying: "He needs to play regularly in high-level matches. Since February he has only started five times in the league and once in the Champions League.
"He cannot afford to spend a season on the bench. At his age, if you do not progress, you regress. His goal is to join the France team at Euro 2016."
It is unlikely that the youngster will gatecrash the national squad next summer, but he certainly has a bright future on the world stage.
A better season so far
This season, Rabiot has been given more opportunities, especially since midfield regular Verratti picked up an injury.
He has started eight games in Ligue 1 and once in Europe and his performances suggest that he will be hard to displace. His style is similar to that of teammate Thiago Motta, but he is slightly less defensively minded and is a bit more ambitious with his passing.
His energy alongside Blaise Matuidi has been key to PSG's recent unbeaten run, which sees them 15 points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table with the league all-but wrapped up before the turn of the new year.
A perfect fit for Arsenal?
Despite his improved game time, Rabiot is still frustrated and is supposedly looking for a loan move away from Paris in January to gain more experience of Champions League football. The Telegraph quotes the young Frenchman as saying that he has a promise in place with the President of the club regarding his first-team opportunities: “I’ve asked the President for a loan move in January if my time on the field is insufficient. It’s something that he can’t refuse me - I know he likes me very much.”
A loan move to Arsenal would work perfectly for both parties. Arsenal need Rabiot and Rabiot needs Arsenal. Arsene Wenger's side are currently without many midfielders including: Francis Coquelin, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla currently unavailable through injury. The PSG man would undoubtedly be a better option in the centre defensive midfielder position than Mathieu Flamini who has failed to prove why the Arsenal boss has shown so much faith in him over recent years.
Perhaps the move could work on a permanent basis in the future, as Arsenal's seemingly perennial search for a holding midfield general goes on, but for the moment a loan move would be the perfect solution for both the player and the club as they both try and improve their prospects for the remainder of the season.
Will Arsene Wenger go for Rabiot in January? Or will he insist again on not signing a central midfielder? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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