Real Madrid made one of the best signings of the 2021 summer transfer window, bringing in Eduardo Camavinga from Rennes for the mere price of 30 million euros (plus add-ons depending on his and the club’s performances). That means Los Blancos have signed the best midfield prospect in the world, who has already been successful at the Champions League level, for a price half of what his value would normally be.
Camavinga has been a quality player for Rennes in Ligue 1 over the past two seasons, as well as one of the better midfielders in European competition. Therefore, Real Madrid can expect him to play a role immediately. At 30 million euros, Camavinga is more than just “one for the future”. His future upside is that of a world-class player, but he is already a capable starter for the vast majority of clubs in Europe.
Of course, at Real Madrid, Camavinga would not be a starter on Day 1. And that is ideal for him, considering he is just 18 and does not need that kind of pressure. Succeeding at Real Madrid is not easy, but Camavinga will have plenty of players to lean on. Not only are there the likes of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Casemiro in midfield, but even other young players like Eder Militao and Vinicius Junior can help Camavinga mentally.
Now, Camavinga probably does not need much help or adjustment. He is used to performing at a high level amidst high expectations. We are talking about a young man who has already scored a goal for the prolific French national team. And how can we forget his performance against PSG as a 16-year-old that initially put him on the Real Madrid radar two years ago?
Eduardo Camavinga and Toni Kroos could be great together in the Real Madrid midfield this season
As a player, Camavinga is complete, even as a teenage center midfielder. He can do a little bit of everything and is legitimately great at two things. In 2019-2020, Camavinga had 4.2 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per game in Ligue 1, according to WhoScored.com. That means Real now have a fourth prolific ball-winner in midfield along with Casemiro, Fede Valverde, and Luka Modric. And like Modric, Camavinga is also adept at carrying the ball, with 1.2 and 2.8 dribbles completed per game in Ligue 1 and the Champions League last season, respectively.
Camavinga cannot create chances or pass as accurately as Toni Kroos, Isco, or Modric, and he is not quite the secondary scoring threat that Modric and Kroos potentially are. But he has shown some passing and scoring ability for club and country, such as with his 1.8 key passes per game for Rennes in the Champions League last season.
Since Camavinga is still developing technically but is already great with the ball at his feet and in defense, he can be an ideal right center midfielder in Real Madrid’s 4-3-3. With Kroos dictating play on the left, Camavinga can get games on the right-hand side for Modric, relieving the experienced Croatian as the ball-winner and ball-progressor opposite of the German international.
Camavinga could also play together with Modric. It would be best to pair him with one of the more experienced midfielders, just so Real Madrid maintain control of the pitch. In the future, Camavinga will develop his ability to control matches and create chances. But in 2021-2022, Real must know the 18-year-old center midfielder’s limits.
One final possibility is that of a ball-carrying midfielder in a double-pivot, with Kroos or Modric next to him and Isco in front. He could even play as a left or right-sided center midfielder in a diamond to accommodate Isco or Eden Hazard as a No. 10 in this setup. There are other wrinkles Carlo Ancelotti can add to his lineup, which could allow Camavinga to show Real Madrid what else he can do for them.
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But since Real mostly play in a 4-3-3 and since this position seems like the safest best for Camavinga, get ready to see quite a few appearances from the French international on the right side of the midfield. Whether as a starter or coming off the bench, Camavinga should get early opportunities to show Madridistas why he is considered a true generational talent in midfield.