There’s more than one area of the pitch that Louis van Gaal needs to strengthen at Manchester United before his first Premier League game, but it’s perhaps central midfield which is the position in most urgent need of replenishment.
A player that can unlock defences from deep is something that has been absent in the Red Devils’ number for a few seasons, and after David Moyes’ failed attempts to sign the likes of Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas, the Dutchman seems to be setting his bar a little lower.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City have all been keeping tabs on Van Gaal’s latest target, the Paris Saint-Germain youngster Adrien Rabiot, but it’s the Old Trafford club’s greater need for a midfield maestro that could see the former European participants land their man.
Rabiot, who had a spell in the Citizen’s youth ranks in 2008, played some, if not a vital, part in PSG’s assault on Ligue 1 this season.
The 19-year-old featured in 25 matches in the French top flight, making 12 starts and scoring two goals although it’s clear his development is being delicately managed by the Parc des Princes outfit as he only completed a full 90 minutes nine times during the campaign.
A midfielder with an eye for a pass, Rabiot was successful with 90.5 per cent of his knocks and made 2.2 accurate long balls per match on average.
His lack of minutes clearly dented those far-reaching pass stats, which are dwarfed by Michael Carrick’s tally of six long balls per match, but the former England international has often been criticised for his crab-like passing displays.
Bringing in a ball-player who can not only freshen up the midfield’s legs, but play a more direct style must be high on Van Gaal’s to do list at Man United this summer.
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