After defeating Crystal Palace 2-1 on the opening day of the season, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is looking to draft in one more player to complete his squad for the forthcoming campaign.
The Gunners – 9/2 shots to win a fourth Premier League title – have spent an unprecedented £60m in the transfer market so far, but still lack in certain areas, most notably the centre-back and holding-midfield departments.
Teenage acquisition Calum Chambers deputised at the heart of their defence in the absence of Per Mertesacker against Palace, while Mikel Arteta continued as the anchor of a three-man midfield, despite several questions being asked regarding his capability to prosper in this position based on last seasons’ performances.
It’s the latter whose place is most at risk if the north Londoners are successful in their pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain’s Adrien Rabiot.
Chelsea are also reportedly keen on the £5.5m man, although the Sunday Express reports that Wenger has held talks over a move which must make Arsenal favourites to land him.
But is he the type of player the Gunners require?
A midfield that oozes flair, creativity and passing prowess, the Community Shield winners require an enforcer to compliment these laudable qualities; a William Carvalho-type player.
Rabiot is not of this mould.
He will sit deep in a midfield trio, but, like Arteta, is more of a playmaker than a tough-tackler, as the 90.5 pass completion rate he achieved in 25 appearances for Les Parisiens last time around indicates.
With two goals and an average of 0.9 shots per outing, his desire to get forward is obvious, while a mean of 1.6 tackles suggests he’s not the most proactive when it comes to winning the ball back.
Take Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic, for instance; he retrieved possession 3.3 times on average in every Premier League game he played for the Blues last term, maintaining a healthy pass accuracy rate of 84.8 per cent in the process.
During a loan stint at Toulouse as a 17-year-old, Rabiot was given a more defensively-focussed debrief and, as a result, typically made three tackles per outing in addition to a laudable 2.6 interceptions.
This, however, meddled with his radar somewhat, impacting on the dead-eye accuracy he exemplified last term.
His pass completion rate fell to 79.1 per cent in this 12-game stint, which, of course, wouldn’t do him any favours with possession-obsessed Wenger, meaning the Frenchman must look elsewhere in his search for a new defensive-midfielder.