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Who is Aurélien Tchouaméni? Real Madrid’s latest Galactico

For the second season in a row, Real Madrid have moved quickly to secure the services of another exciting, young French midfielder.

That’s right — just 12 months after signing Eduardo Camavinga for £27.9 million from Rennes, and mere weeks after beating Liverpool to be crowned Champions League winners for a 14th time against the betting UK odds, Los Blancos have splashed an eye-watering £85m on Aurélien Tchouaméni.

The 22-year-old has impressed since he arrived at Monaco from Bordeaux in January 2020, earning his first call-up to the France national team last August, and he had plenty of potential suitors lining up outside Stade Louis II for his signature as the summer transfer window rapidly approaches. But it was Madrid who sealed the deal, once again earning bragging rights over Liverpool as the Reds were also reportedly interested.

It’s clear that Los Blancos are planning ahead for a future without Luka Modrić (36), Casemiro (30) and Toni Kroos (32) bossing their midfielder, and Camavinga certainly impressed during his maiden season at the Santiago Bernabéu — even if he did have to settle for regular appearances from the bench with those aforementioned midfielders ageing like fine wine.

Tchouaméni comes with a price tag almost double that of his compatriot though, so there will be that added weight of expectation on his shoulders from the club’s supporters when he dons that iconic white strip of Madrid next season. But what will he actually bring to Carlo Ancelotti’s side? Read on as we take a look.

Well, he might only be 22 years old, but he comes to the Bernabéu with bags of experience in his locker already. Tchouaméni made more appearances for Monaco in Ligue 1 this season than of any of his outfield teammates, missing just five of the rouges et blanc’s 38 league games as they finished third for the second year in a row starting all 33 of his outings in France’s top flight.

On a European scale, only two outfield under-23s have featured in more minutes —Burnley’s Dwight McNeil (6,176) and West Ham United’s Declan Rice (6,058) in the continent’s top five leagues than Tchouaméni, who racked up 5,992 minutes on the pitch for Monaco in the last two seasons. So, he’s certainly not coming to Madrid to warm the bench most weeks.

It looks like it is Casemiro who the Frenchman is going to have to contend with for that defensive midfield role in Ancelotti’s 4-3-3 formation, as he more often than not turned out alongside Youssouf Fofana in 4-2-3-1 in a deep-lying role at the Stade Louis II — usually sitting deeper than his compatriot as a last time of defensive in the midfield.

Ancelotti could, of course, switch things up to play Tchouaméni and Casemiro together in a similar formation, but the Italian manager is a firm believer in his classic 4-3-3 system — it has worked wonders thus far in his career, so it’s unlikely he will look to switch things up at this stage.

Tchouaméni will provide his new boss with other options as well, as the 22-year-old is certainly not a one-trick pony by any means. He is able to play in a range of positions in the centre of the park — most notably as a box-to-box midfielder in a no.8-style role, but again breaking the mould of Madrid’s experienced trio is not going to be an easy task.

One thing he surely be looking forward to at Madrid is his first experience of Champions League football. The 22-year-old has shown Europe his skillset in the Europa League with his previous two employers, but he will keen be show off his ability to the continent in its biggest club competition and with title holders Real Madrid, he has a great chance of venturing to the latter stages.

Tchouaméni is one to watch next season, for sure!

Huynh Nguyen

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