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How Rabiot started a war between Barcelona and PSG

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Adrien Rabiot’s current contract with Paris-Saint Germain will expire at the end of this 2018/19 season and the Frenchman has made up his mind to leave France for Spain, a decision that quickly strained PSG’s relationship with Barcelona—his potential buyers.

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Image: Adrien Rabiot

Veronique Rabiot, the footballer’s mother who doubles as his agent, told a French Radio Station, RTL, that her son is ready to join Barca at all costs. There was a similar incident between both clubs during Neymar’s mega move to Paris.

On Wednesday, Veronique spoke with RTL about the perceived deadlock on her son’s planned move to Spain, describing the midfielder as “totally disoriented” at this moment.

PSG sporting director Antero Henrique said earlier on Monday that Rabiot is no longer wanted at the French club, adding that the 23-year-old would be “benched indefinitely” if he eventually fails to join any of the interested buyers, especially Barca.

Henrqique accused Rabiot of lying to the club about his dealings with the Spanish giants for many months, adding that there are no plans to extend the French footballer’s contract. There are wide speculations that a deal has been struck with Blaugranas but Veronique refuted the claims.

‘We have no rights to deal with any club until 1 January,’ she said. ‘We cannot talk to any club representative until then.’ However, she admitted knowing of Barca’s interest in Rabiot.

‘They made a move during the summer transfer window and I told Mr Henrique about our acceptance,’ she added. ‘It was saddening that PSG refused to grant my son the freedom to leave—they have the full right, anyways…It has been like this for the past 4 years…’

Veronique continued, ‘He was only 19 when Barcelona came calling. PSG refused and he obliged by signing a new contract extension. Now he’s 23 and the problem has lingered…What he [Rabiot] wants to do now is “buy his freedom.”’

The disgruntled mother and football agent said her son’s decision to leave PSG is “firm and definitive.”

‘It is too late and impossible to rescind the decision,’ Veronique noted.

Rabiot’s agent also thanked France’s National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP) for a public show of support during the 4-year quagmire, but denied any involvement with Barca.

On Tuesday, Le Parisien confirmed that Rabiot has sealed agreement with Barcelona and the news was met with celebrations from PSG fans who targeted the France international with banners during their Coupe de la Ligue victory over Orleans. ‘Rabiot, we don’t need you,’ one of the placards read.

In response to wide speculations in the media regarding Rabiot’s dream of playing alongside Lionel Messi, PSG manager Thomas Tuchel said the French footballer’s stay in Paris beyond this January transfer window cannot be guaranteed, especially if the midfielder rejects contract extension offers from the French champions.

‘I can’t say for sure that Rabiot will stay here in Paris and there’s no guarantee that he will finish this season with us,’ Tuchel said. ‘He hasn’t said yes to PSG and that leaves the options wide open.’

Mark Jones of the Mirror identified Liverpool and Barcelona as Rabiot’s potential buyers.

A report from an Italian sports news agency, Corriere dello Sport, revealed that Juventus are set to make a €10 million offer for the youngster in January. Football pundit Andrew Gaffney added that Tottenham Hotspur will most likely make an offer in that range.

Nonetheless, Henrique has been outspoken about PSG’s burning anger towards Barca for their suspicious last-minute move for Rabiot in the summer transfer window.

‘Madame Rabiot said that we received an offer this summer,’ he said. ‘This is true, we received a bid on the 29th August, 20 hours before the closure of the summer transfer window…This shows that Barcelona must have had an agreement with him [Rabiot] before coming to discuss with us.’

He continued, ‘You have to know that Barcelona’s offer was ridiculous.

‘For us, the club, we were very surprised by this low offer. The offer was disrespectful for someone of Rabiot’s standing. I insist, it is not possible to reach an agreement with a player like Adrien in 24 hours…So, it is clear that Barcelona must have already had an agreement with him.’

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Considering Rabiot’s performance level and PSG’s ambitions of winning the Champions League this season, it is very clear that the French club wouldn’t sanction any sale before they find a replacement for the Frenchman–unless he “buys his freedom” the hard way.

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