Manchester City currently have one of the smallest squads in the Premier League with 24 senior players in total, leaving just three clubs in the division with fewer.
There are also a handful of outfield players in Pep Guardiola’s squad that have gone over the age of 30.
One of those players is Ilkay Gundogan, who is also out of contract at the end of the season.
Despite that, the German has still been a prominent figure in City’s team this term, featuring in all but four of their games across all competitions prior to this weekend’s Premier League outing against Nottingham Forest.
Should the 32-year-old find himself waving goodbye to the Etihad Stadium at the end of the campaign, one player that the club has been linked with recently who could be a potential upgrade on the midfielder is Adrien Rabiot.
With his contract at Juventus also set to expire in the summer, this would make the £152k-per-week midfielder, who has been hailed for his “sensational” efforts on the pitch in the past by journalist Josh Bunting, an option for City to sign as a free agent.
The Frenchman previously spent some months at City in their academy back in 2008 when he was just 13. Having now gone on to become a top professional, Rabiot has played for two of Europe’s biggest clubs in Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.
In terms of being a potential upgrade on Gundogan, the duo’s latest domestic campaigns have shown why that would be the case.
Would you take Adrien Rabiot at Man City as a free agent?
For example, in addition to scoring more goals than the German international (4 vs 3), the Juventus figure has also made more successful take-ons (13 vs 6) and more carries into the final third of the pitch than the City star (32 vs 22).
Then from a defensive point of view, the 27-year-old has more successful tackles (17 vs 11), interceptions (16 vs 14), blocks (25 vs 10), clearances (20 vs 10) and recoveries (108 vs 85) than Gundogan, highlighting how effective he can be off the ball as well as on it.
Therefore, whether Gundogan ends up leaving City in the summer or not, we think signing Rabiot as a free agent is definitely something that the club should look into once the transfer window opens.