“The hallmark of great holding midfielders like Casemiro is the ability to anticipate and counter-press when their teams lose the ball was a prevalent attribute in their skillset. The youngster has such abilities and hinting of improving more in the coming days. It is not surprising that Real Madrid would look forward to signing such a gifted player with the era of Casemiro coming to an end.”
It seems that the French soil is fertile when it comes to producing world-class midfielders. Raymond Kopa, Michel Platini, Alain Giresse, Jean Paul Tigana, Luis Fernandez, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Didier Deschamps, Claudio Makelele and Zinedine Zidane are such legendary names who have enriched world football in each decade.
At the moment, Eduardo Camavinga is supposed to be the heir of the above-mentioned legends in the coming days. In Real Madrid Camavinga is an instant hit and his control over the ball is similar to Luka Modric and when it comes to vision and passing; he reminds us of Modric as well.
While Camavinga has already become the future of Real Madrid and French midfield there is another youngster who has come under the radar of Real Madrid and France.
In the final of the UEFA Nations League against Spain at San Siro, Milan, coach Deschamps deployed a 21-year-old alongside Pogba in central midfield with Kante absent due to injury- Aurelien Tchouameni was handed only his second start at senior international level and played a key role against a Spanish opponent that could have dominated the contest at Milan.
Only Pogba (78) and Jules Kounde (58) had more touches of the ball than Tchouameni (49) with the 21-year-old also registering two tackles, four interceptions and one key pass. His performance underlined why Real Madrid are very much interested in the youngster.
Tchouameni was born in Rouen, Seine-Maritime but grew up in Bordeaux, Gironde.
Tchouameni made his first-team debut for Bordeaux in a 1–0 UEFA Europa League away-win to Latvian side FK Ventspils in the second qualifying round in 2018, starting the match and playing 89 minutes.
He scored the first goal of his senior club career a month later, netting the final goal in Bordeaux’s 3–1 Europa League away victory over Mariupol.
On January 29 2020, Tchouameni signed a four and a half year deal with Ligue 1 side AS Monaco.
After about a year playing for his club side, he finally registered his first league goal for the side, netting the second goal in a 3–1 win against Marseille in 2021.
In the 2020-21 season, Monaco had earned the accolades for their display and tested the top clubs in Ligue1.
The eye-catching 3-2-4-1 system that Monaco used paid rich dividends, while the goal-scoring exploits of Wissam Ben Yedder and Kevin Volland in the attack have received much adulation.
However, their success has been founded upon the awesome efforts of central midfielders Youssouf Fofana and Tchouameni.
Tchouameni had been a revolution in Monaco.
He was used sparingly in what was a tumultuous season for the Monegasques, ended prematurely by the Covid-19 pandemic.
— Tchouameni Aurélien (@atchouameni) October 11, 2021
When play was shut down in mid-March, Tchouameni had played three of the possible seven Ligue 1 games for his new side, none as a starter, and yet managed to get himself booked in each of these appearances.
Kovac’s arrival, however, has offered a fresh opportunity for the 21-year-old. Indeed, he has started 35 of Monaco’s 37 league matches this season, with the two he sat out due to suspension. Moreover, he has chipped in with a couple of goals and four assists.
“For me, he’s a symbol of our team,” said Kovac.
“He’s the player who’s improved the most. He works hard and does whatever it takes.”
“If he continues like this, he’ll have a great career. He understands what’s expected of him and respects what he has to do.”
“He fits perfectly with what Monaco do,” France Under-21 boss Sylvain Ripoll explained.
“He reads the play well on the field and gives energy to his side.
“His tactical understanding is higher than average. He tries to understand the game, and when you combine that with his athleticism and his way of coming out of defence…”
“He’s taken on another dimension this season, especially in his use of the ball. All his levels are up, but there has been a big change there. In addition to the athletic work he does, he’s a monster that hurts the opponent and springs forward when required.”
“He’s the new sensation of French football. Fans love him and already consider him the new Pogba,” says Eurosport France’s Martin Mosnier.
“He’s only 21, but he’s ready. His great physical abilities and his technical skills would make him a strong Premier League player just as they have made him a good player for France.”
“They play the same football,” Mosnier says about the comparison between Pogba and Tchouameni.
“Eric Bedouet, his first professional coach [Bordeaux], who knows Pogba very well, told me: The resemblance to Paul Pogba is striking. In terms of play, power, technique, they are very similar. But Pogba, today, is on another planet but Aurelien could join him there.”
“He’s not a boy, he’s a man,” said Pogba.
“It’s a pleasure to play next to him; he provides a lot… plenty of energy, technical quality and extraordinary physicality. I hope to play plenty of games together and always be on his side.”
Aurélien Tchouaméni’s cameo vs Belgium helped France force the winner. His defensive positioning, ball-winning, progressive passing & his ability to travel box-to-box, are all quality traits. He has a very well-rounded skill-set for a 21 year old defensive midfielder. Big talent. pic.twitter.com/pG1Mv427RN
— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) October 8, 2021
Tchouameni plays in a double pivot alongside Youssouf Fofana, with whom he interchanges roles frequently throughout the game. He can either drop or focus on screening the defence, closing down passing lanes and defending the central channel, or he can play in a more box-to-box role, bringing the ball up the field and looking to play through-passes into the on-running forwards.
From a positional point of view, as any great holding midfielder should be, Tchouaméni is very well educated on being in the right place at the right time. As the opposition progresses in their buildup, he’s constantly looking over his shoulder to see which players are checking for the ball. In predicting the opening of a passing lane, Tchouameni is able to disrupt the play and intercept passes before they can break down his team’s defence.
His awareness and ability to scan also comes in handy during transitional phases in the game. When the team loses the ball, his ability to counter-press and anticipate the opposition’s counter-attack make it easier for Monaco to win the ball high up the pitch.
The hallmark of great holding midfielders like Casemiro is the ability to anticipate and counter-press when their teams lose the ball was a prevalent attribute in their skillset. The youngster has such abilities and hinting of improving more in the coming days.
It is not surprising that Real Madrid would look forward to signing such a gifted player with the era of Casemiro coming to an end.
The target of the Los Blancos remains on Kylian Mbappe.
🚨 Real Madrid are targeting Aurélien Tchouaméni as the long-term replacement of Casemiro. His price is estimated at €35M.
Chelsea and Juventus are also targeting the Frenchman.
(Source: MARCA) pic.twitter.com/tHsXgyckp0
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) October 11, 2021
His contract expires next summer and Real Madrid will be hoping to speak to him from January 1 to find an agreement ahead of a free transfer next summer, with players like Marcelo, Isco and Gareth Bale having their contracts at Valdebebas expire then.
But Tchouameni has emerged as a new target after his brilliant display at Milan and in Ligue1.
At the moment, Real Madrid only have Casemiro as a specialist in that defensive midfield role, with Antonio Blanco acting as an alternative option to the Brazilian when needed.
Tchouameni could be the best option in the absence of Casemiro.
But Real Madrid aren’t the only club that is after this youngster – Manchester United, Chelsea and Juventus have joined the race.
Florentino Perez needs to compete smartly in order to bag the best in the best club in the world with the intention to build a great team in the future.