Thanks to Real Sociedad and the Copa loss on Thursday, it is abundantly clear that Real Madrid is in desperate need of a back-up defensive midfielder. Eduardo Camavinga could be the answer.
With Casemiro out of the Real Madrid squad for the quarterfinal of the Copa del Rey due to illness and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois on the bench, Zinedine Zidane‘s men allowed four goals to a team they had defeated just a few months prior.
Squad rotation and rest after an intense Madrid Derby were Zidane’s primary concerns heading into this fixture, but now, his attention should return to the transfer market.
The club signed attacking midfielder Reinier Jesus Carvalho in January to continue their trend in acquiring 18-year-old Brazilians, yet, there is an obvious lack of depth at CDM.
The answer is simple and obvious. President Florentino Perez and Zidane should have their eyes set on one man and one man only. Eduardo Camavinga. Here’s why.
1. His age
Camavinga is 17-years-old. He just turned 17 a few months back and still, he is a regular starter in Ligue 1 with Stade Rennes.
The midfielder has started in 21 of Rennes’ 23 league matches and has made an appearance as a substitute too. Thanks to his great tackling and defensive work, Rennes are surprising France and sit in third place with 15 matches to play.
Camavinga has been with Rennes since he was 11 and worked with the youth academy before signing his first professional contract just a year and a half ago at age 16.
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Eduardo is the youngest professional the club has ever had and he has captured the eyes of millions with his disciplined demeanor and consistency.
2. That French connection
Zidane is much more than a footballing icon in his home country of France. He and Tierry Henry are the two players you think of when watching the French national team play. The two played the game beautifully and inspired generations of players.
This is something that I think media members tend to overlook. Zizou is French, therefore, he loves French players and knows how to get the most out of them. Take Ferland Mendy or Karim Benzema for examples.
Both players are thriving under Zidane like they never have before during their respective careers. Mendy, in fact, has been so great in recent weeks he has pushed Marcelo firmly onto the bench and should be considered the starting left back from here on out.
The Big Benz is having maybe his best campaign since joining Real Madrid over a decade ago at the no-so-young age of 32.
You can’t forget Raphael Varane in this argument, but Varane has been a defensive mastermind since he was a teenager. Like he is trying to do with Kylian Mbappe, Zidane’s influence could play a factor in where Camavinga heads to next.
3. Time is an ally
Eduardo Camavinga is under contract with Rennes until the summer of 2022 and is currently valued at €35 million by Transfermarkt. Real Madrid is going to have to spend big to bring him over – that’s a given – but the potential of this kid is so overwhelming it’s nearly impossible to pass up.
Los Blancos need a back-up for Casemiro who is an outright CDM. Marcos Llorente played that role admirably, but the club has failed to seek a deputy for the Brazilian after selling Llorente to Atletico this past summer.
Perez and Zidane could recreate the strategy they have used with Martin Ødegaard and are going to use with Takefusa Kubo on Camavinga. Buy the player at a young age for cheap, loan him out for a few seasons, see how he develops, then implement him into the first team when the time is right.
While chasing his signature this summer is not the most pressing issue the club will have to deal with, they will have to remain wary of other big clubs around Europe trying to make big offers just to scare off the others (I’m looking at you guys Man City and PSG).
His 4.4 tackles per game, 1.5 interceptions per game, and high clearance rate are the only stats I need to see to know this kid is going to be a superstar. Watching his highlights shows his calmness when under pressure, his effortless ability to tackle players, and his great vision when he is attempting a pass.
Real Madrid should make the easy decision and sign Eduardo Camavinga in the coming year or two.