Adrien Rabiot has found it difficult to hold down a regular starting spot in Paris Saint-Germain’s star-studded lineup. But with influential midfielder Marco Verratti out injured, it provides the perfect chance for the young Frenchman to prove his worth to manager Laurent Blanc.
The midfielder has found minutes hard to come by in recent weeks and months. His mother, who also acts as his agent appeared to push for a move in the summer, with the likes of Arsenal reportedly very interested.
Laurent Blanc seemed to reward the 20-year-old’s loyalty, handing him a starting berth in PSG’s opening game of the season against Lille. However just 28 minutes into the match, he saw red for two silly challenges.
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Verratti’s absence gives him an opportunity to redeem himself and earn more league starts. He, along with Benjamin Stambouli, will be fighting for that spot, but Blanc seems to favour Rabiot, allowing him to play the full 90 against Toulouse.
Despite his moment of madness, he has enjoyed some decent performances this season. He did not do too badly on his return from injury, and also showed great maturity in coming off the bench for the injured Verratti against Real Madrid.
This next month will be a crucial period for Rabiot. While he is unlikely to displace Verratti when he returns, he has the chance to lay claim to the spot currently held in the side by Thiago Motta. The Italian’s contract runs out at the end of the season, and even if he were to renew his contract, at 33-years-old, Blanc may want fresh legs in the position.
No matter how well Rabiot does in Verratti’s place, it does not change the fact that PSG will be without one of their star performers for the best part of a month. Though, they hardly seemed to miss the midfielder during their romping 5-0 win over Toulouse in their last match.
Regardless, Verratti has become a key figure in the centre of PSG’s midfield, particularly catching the eye with his controlling performance in a Champions League tie against Chelsea last season.
The Italian has recently drawn praise from Spain legend Xavi, who compared the midfielder to himself and fellow Barcelona players:
“Verratti is a footballer at an extraordinary level," said the World Cup winner. "His level is comparable to that of the Barcelona midfielders. He's playing at a very high level with PSG. He has had two fantastic seasons. There are very few midfielders better than Verratti.
“He's one of the best midfielders in the world, and plays a little bit in the same way as I tried to do with Barcelona and the national team. He likes having the ball. He also has perfect mastery over long and short passing, he can play the final ball, and he doesn't lose the ball that easily. He's really a very high-class player.”