AS Roma’s Interest In Adrien Rabiot Raises Doubts Over Kevin Strootman’s Future

In an interview with Canal Plus, Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot has admitted that he doesn’t know whether or not he will play for manager Laurent Blanc’s side again.

The 19-year-old – who has been a rumored transfer target of AS Roma, Arsenal and Chelsea – confessed that he was very close to completing a move to Serie A this summer before the deal ultimately fell through for unexplained reasons.

“Roma was my choice and I thought that I would have moved there. I don’t understand what happened to make the negotiations fail,” Rabiot told the French news outlet.

“AS Roma are a great club, now I’ll wait to see what happens in the January market.”

“I don’t know if I will play again for PSG. It was not my choice to play with the reserve team but it’s a pleasure to play football, even training in the fourth tier.”

“I’m available for the coach and he will decide. Competition does not scare me, even in Roma there are so many great players.”

AS Roma manager Rudi Garcia has also expressed an interest in the former product of Manchester City’s youth academy.

“Rabiot? We are interested in quality players,” Garcia said. “Some are accessible and others not much. Until January he must remain at PSG, but then…”

It appears that the player and the manager are pointing towards a January move for the PSG midfielder, who has fallen behind in the midfield pecking order in France.

With that said, reports emanating from Italy have stated that AS Roma have been trying to extend the contract of Dutch international Kevin Strootman, but the two parties have yet to come to an agreement. The 24-year-old midfielder has been heavily linked to a reunion with his former national team coach Louis van Gaal at Manchester United.

To this point, Roma officials have publicly stated that Strootman is not for sale and is very much a part of their future plans.

But the club’s admitted interest in Rabiot and their failed efforts to extend the Strootman’s contract mean that the Dutch international’s immediate future in Rome is in doubt.

Questions can be raised as to why AS Roma would be pursuing a player who can’t start in the starting eleven in Paris, with Laurent Blanc preferring Marco Verratti, Thiago Motta, Blaise Matuidi and Yohan Cabaye over the 19-year-old midfielder.

Roma’s current midfield options are Daniele De Rossi, Radja Nainggolan and Miralem Pjanic; with Strootman soon to return from his cruciate ligament surgery. So there appears to be plenty of competition in Rome for Rabiot to contend should the player opt to leave the French side.

With Rabiot concerned with a lack of playing time at PSG, it would be odd for the player to choose Roma – over other potential suitors – with their numerous choices in the midfield.

Speculation is the Serie A side are expecting one of their midfielders to depart the club in January and club officials want to add Rabiot to their midfield options. Rudi Garcia apparently sees something in the U-21 France international that Laurent Blant doesn’t.

Daniele De Rossi is a club legend and Italian international, so he won’t be leaving Roma any time soon. Miralem Pjanic has been with the Seria A side since 2011 and recently signed a four-year extension that will see him remain in Rome until 2018. And Radja Nainggolan has also signed a permanent deal with the Giallorossi over the summer. So three of Roma’s midfielders have their immediate futures tied to the club.

That leaves Kevin Strootman.

Despite the public comments from Roma officials, it is widely believed that their statements are a negotiating ploy and the 24-year-old box-to-box midfielder will be sold for the right price. The Serie A club want to ensure they receive a large sum for the player and have a replacement ready upon his departure.

Strootman is reportedly valued at around £30 million by officials at the Italian side, although manager Rudi Garcia has stated it would take £79 million to pry the midfielder away from the Serie A club – the latter is an attempt to raise the midfielder’s transfer fee beyond its appraisal.

Manchester United showed this summer that they are willing to spend heavy in order to strengthen their squad. The club smashed the British transfer record when it signed Angel di Maria from Real Madrid and spent £150 million on six signings.

There is no secret of Louis van Gaal’s fondness for Strootman and United are still in search of a strong midfield presence.

Shortly after the summer window closed, speculation began to surface that United would make an “official” move for Strootman at the start of the January transfer period, with some saying preliminary discussions have already taken place.

The main reason why the Dutch midfielder didn’t move to Old Trafford over the summer was because Strootman would have never passed a medical with United (due to his rehabilitation) and Van Gaal was concerned with the player’s fitness. The manager wanted the Holland international to prove his fitness once he returned from injury in November; Strootman returned to training today and is on schedule for his debut in a few weeks.

Speculation is that Roma’s deal for Adrien Rabiot fell through because United were reluctant to pull the trigger on Strootman until January and the Rabiot’s agent (which happens to be his mother) didn’t want her client to get involved in another midfield numbers game, similar to the one he is entangled in at PSG.

Despite the public positioning of Roma officials, it appears that Strootman will be joining Louis van Gaal at Manchester United and Adrien Rabiot will swap the French capital for the Italian equivalent during the January window.

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