The atmosphere around Juventus has improved significantly since the winter transfer market. Forget the fantasies of a title return. Before the winter transfer market, Juventini were worried that the Bianconeri could fail to reach the top four, which would be an unthinkable disaster for a club of this stature.
It is amazing how much a productive window can do for a team. Juventus now have a true superstar striker in Dusan Vlahovic – someone who can score from nothing and keep the Bianconeri in matches they could have otherwise lost… such as the most recent Champions League fixture against Villarreal.
In addition, Juve brought in Denis Zakaria, who could be a world-class player in his own right. However, injuries have already come to the fore.
But what may have been more beneficial to Juventus was the continuation of the roster-trimming that began in the summer. Rodrigo Bentancur and Aaron Ramsey are out the door. Dejan Kulusevski is in a better situation for him with Spurs.
Juventus must remain vigilant and, to be blunt, cut-throat in who they part ways with. Even those who have helped the club significantly during its recent heyday are not safe, such as Alex Sandro.
Adrien Rabiot is not at the level Juventus need in midfield
So, then, parting ways with another free-agent bust on the level of Emre Can, Sami Khedira, and Ramsey makes sense. And while Adrien Rabiot has had his bright moments and been a somewhat useful midfielder for the Bianconeri, it is time for the Frenchman to go.
Based on the rumours that Juve are willing to take €10-15m for Rabiot, it seems as if the club’s leadership understands that the time is now, too. Before, Rabiot was on the transfer market, but only for the right offer. And obviously, not even Manchester United nor Everton are incompetent enough to offer €30m (or, really, even €20m) for such a limited player.
Rabiot just isn’t good enough for Juventus. If Juve want to return to their elite status on the field, Rabiot cannot be a key player in midfield. Yes, he can win the ball. Yes, he can run with it. But what else can he do?
Juve need technical and tactical quality in midfield. They need midfielders who can make the right decisions, the right passes, and show up week-after-week.
Rabiot has two assists this season and 12 goal contributions in his Juventus career. Worse yet, in 2021/22, he averages fewer than 30 passes per game and still doesn’t complete 82% of his passes.
While Rabiot is a decent carrier of the ball and can win some tackles defensively, even his strengths are pretty meaningless. Most of his dribbles don’t lead to anything of note for the Juventus attack. And his 1.6 tackles per game are significantly higher than his 0.6 interceptions per game, indicating that his defensive actions aren’t the result of some great reading of the play. He wins the ball because of the aggressiveness that also leads to bookings and often disrupts the team’s overall defensive solidity. That puts the burden on his centre backs to clean up.
Rabiot is this kind of a player. You can make a nifty highlight-reel of him if you put together some tackles, dribbles, and the occasional goal. But if you have watched him every week at Juventus, you may be shocked at how such an unaware player with very little in terms of a team-oriented midfield style could start so many games for Juventus – out of all clubs.
The man just doesn’t fit. Rabiot was meant to be a standout who can hoard touches and tackles at a mid-level club. But on a team that wants a collective, organised, technical identity like Juventus, Rabiot goes against the ethos of the club. He is an impediment in midfield to Juve playing the productive, fluid, and economic brand of football that made them one of Europe’s most attractive and successful sides for a decade.