Eduardo Camavinga is the name every Real Madrid fan is speaking about. Florentino Perez is tipped to bring the 17 year old French defensive midfielder to the Santiago Bernabeu in the coming transfer window. Real Madrid aren’t alone in this race. PSG are watching it closely and so are a host of other European superclubs. Here’s a brief writeup on the man of the moment.
Age is just a number
Camavinga made his debut for Rennes in the French top flight at the age of 16 years. The 2019-20 campaign has been his breakout season. He made 36 appearances for Rennes before the season was interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides playing in the Ligue 1, he’s also been their key player in the Europa League. It must be noted that Rennes were average in the Europa League and Camavinga also received a red card in one game.
He obtained French citizenship in 2019 which paved the way for him to play for their U21 side. Camavinga really burst on the scene with a stunning performance against PSG earlier this season. It was his cross which resulted in the consequent goal scoring header which turned out to be the winner for Rennes. He’s quick, pacy and loves to dribble. Dribbling isn’t a skill generally associated with defensive midfielders but it is one of his strengths. Camavinga likes to play a lot in the middle third of the pitch. He makes an occasional run towards the opposition box and strays on the right flank as well. The Rennes midfielder is left footed and tries to send a cross inside the box from the right side of the pitch.
Eduardo Camavinga is capable of making brisk short passes and would suit any side that focuses a lot on fast build up. He has a decent understanding of the game and can complete a defense splitting pass as well.
Is he as good as everyone on Twitter says?
It is important to note that Camavinga is only 17 years old and has plenty of room to improve. One of the key reasons why Camavinga has been in the spotlight is because of the setup around him. Rennes have mostly played in a 5-3-2 setup with Camavinga as the deepest lying player in a three man midfield. The presence of a back five behind him has massively helped Camavinga. It allowed him to be confident and play freely. Statistics will show that Camavinga makes a lot of tackles and interceptions. But focus on where his tackles are. They are in less dangerous positions. His tackles aren’t exactly in positions where a defensive midfielder typically plays. The presence of three centre backs behind him and his instinct to play near the halfway line affects his positioning on the pitch. On paper, he looks to be playing as a defensive midfielder but on the pitch he is playing as a central midfielder.
Camavinga isn’t physically strong because of his young age and loses a majority of his duels. He has been outmuscled on multiple occasions and Rennes would be in a lot of trouble if there weren’t three defenders covering for Camavinga behind him. The young midfielder’s future could lie in the number 8 role. A lot of his weaknesses will be exposed in a setup which only has two defenders behind him rather than the current three. He is similar to Arsenal’s Matteo Guendouzi in a lot of aspects. But the Arsenal man is far ahead of his Rennes counterpart. Rennes were expecting more than $70mn for their most prized asset but now seem willing to take around $40-50mn. There are also reports that Rennes want to keep Camavinga at the club on a one year loan. There aren’t many clubs who will be able to pay that kind of money for a player only to send him back on a one year loan.
Camavinga vs Tonali in the El Classico
Real Madrid seems to be the most likely destination for Eduardo Camavinga. On the other side of Spain, Barcelona are looking at the prospect of bringing Sandro Tonali to the Camp Nou. Tonali has received praise from a lot of ex players and plaudits. Two of the world’s most talented defensive midfielders of their generation could be set for a new challenge this summer and may soon cross each other’s path in the El Classico.
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