Aurelien Tchouaméni Real Madrid
Aurélien Tchouaméni has become the latest household name in the Los Blancos corridor after Real Madrid agreed a €100m (£85.3m) deal to sign the defensive midfielder from Monaco. The European champions are to pay a guaranteed €80m for the 22-year-old with the rest in add-ons.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) June 11, 2022
Real Madrid saw off competitions from both Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain to sign the talented Frenchman making him the 4th highest signing in the history of Los Blancos.
Who’s Aurelien Tchouaméni and why did Real Madrid pay such huge amount.
The 22-year-old has been one of the most exciting prospects in French football since his breakout at Bordeaux, and has been key in Monaco’s impressive late resurgence both this season and last to secure third place.
Tchouaméni joined As Monaco from Bordeaux in 2020 January for a fee of €18 million in which looks as a steal for 20-year-old academy product who had only started 13 league games for the club. But, just under three years, Monaco had already made five times the exact amount they paid to Bordeaux 30 months ago.
Tchouaméni initially struggled to break into the Monaco side upon arrival from Bordeaux, making just three substitute appearances in the back half of season, although it’s worth noting that it was a campaign cut short by the coronavirus pandemic. However, 2020/21 has been the start of Tchouaméni prominence.
Tchouaméni became such an influential figure from deep for Monaco, guiding them to back-to-back third place finish after which they finished ninth during the 2019/20 campaign.
He also won the Ligue 1 young player of the year award and also making it into the Ligue 1 team of the season twice in a row before joining European powerhouse Real Madrid.
Not only has Tchouaméni proved himself at club level, he has also established himself at international level under Didier Deschamps, a manager who knows better than most what it takes to succeed in central midfield.
“There are quite a lot of new players,” Deschamps said after Tchouaméni’s first start for France in 2021.
“They should use Aurélien as an example and perform the way he did. ”
Paul Pogba on Aurélien Tchouaméni:
"He's not a boy, he's a man. 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." [@BaptisteDurieux] pic.twitter.com/saYIzogbtU
— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) September 5, 2021
What position can Aurelien Tchouameni play for Real Madrid?
“He can play anywhere in midfield and he will not have a problem,” Fabregas told BT Sport.
“He can play as a No.6 alone, as a defensive midfielder, as a No.8, in a double 6. What he’s doing now, even in a year’s time, he could become a good No.10 if he wanted. He’s got the power to get into the box. He needs to improve his final pass a little bit, but he’s so young, and he’s determined to learn.”
The versatile youngster can play both as a lone pivot in the number 6 role, as an interior in a more box-to-box number 8 role or in double pivot.
For example, Tchouaméni made his full France debut as the deepest midfielder in a 4-3-3 against Ukraine, yet put in another solid showing alongside Pogba in a 3-4-1-2 against Spain in Nations League final.
At Monaco, Tchouameni has most frequently played in a defensive midfield role alongside Youssouf Fofana in a 4-2-3-1. However, he played in a slightly deeper role than his midfield team-mate, screening the defence and getting more involved in Monaco’s build-up play.
Before we get into that in more detail further down, let’s consult Tchouaméni’s heatmap for 2021/2022 as presented by Sofascore.
Looking at the map, we can see the box-to-box nature of the player as he likes to occupy both deep and advanced areas, mostly located in the middle third of the pitch. And we can also see Tchouaméni usually sits deeper, which isn’t a big surprise given Monaco’s double-pivot system.
His positional versatility means that he would be able to fit in as a defensive midfielder — the position predominantly occupied by Casemiro — or in one of the “No 8” roles occupied by Modric and Kroos as Ancelotti plays a 4-3-3 formation.
Tchouaméni Body Movement and Positioning.
A robust and athletic defensive midfielder, Tchouaméni is more than comfortable in driving forward with the ball into advanced positions once he wins it back, rather than passing it out like many other(progressive passing, 70 out of 99), and importantly, get the ball into dangerous areas (xG from ball progression, 79 out of 99).
His positioning makes it easy for him to escape opposition cover shadow and to shield the ball from challenges. While part of this is because of his awareness of the vacant space on the pitch, he’s also comfortable at receiving the ball under pressure, coupled with his physical strength make him quite press-resistant in tight areas of the pitch.
As a defensive midfielder, it is very important a player is comfortable with the ball at his feet and can reliably be used as an option in all situations.
- (Credit: rom7ooo@YouTube)
Luckily, Tchouaméni, despite his age, is indeed such a player. The 22-year-old’s short and medium-range passing is excellent while the long-range distribution can be used in switches of play, transitions and for finding runners behind the opposition’s backline. Overall, his passing ability is nothing short of impressive.
How good is Aurélien Tchouaméni defensively?
Aurélien Tchouaméni is the only player in Europe’s top five leagues to make 80+ tackles and 100+ interceptions in 2021/22:
◎ 35 games
◉ 86 tackles
◉ 101 interceptions
And he has the best duel win percentage of any midfielder to contest 400+ duels (63.7%). 💪 pic.twitter.com/3m1mntxxbF
— Squawka (@Squawka) June 11, 2022
Defensively, the 22-year-old midfielder is an astute defender and stands out as an elite ball-winner. For metrics such as pressures, tackles, interceptions, and aerial duels won, he ranks among the best performing midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues.
Aurélien Tchouaméni made more tackles and interceptions combined than ANY other player in Europe's top five leagues this season.
And he's streets ahead of his age group. 🤩
— Squawka (@Squawka) June 2, 2022
Tchouaméni knows well how to read the game; can easily nick ball and intercept as opponents receive it, frequently picking up loose passes and blocking passes.
Tchouameni’s athleticism is also crucial to his defensive style. Being (6ft 2in), his long legs allow him to snuff out attacks before they materialise with his destructive breaking up of play(defensive impacts of 74/99 shows how he always stop plays before it materialise)
Aurélien Tchouaméni is an extremely well-rounded and complemented by an impressive blend of athleticism and technical prowess similarly to that of Brazilian powerhouse Casemiro.
However, he’s so versatile in what he does and can occupy several different positions on the pitch to a high standard and influences his team both in and out of possession.
Of course, being so young; he’s far from complete and this can sometimes be seen in his movement, passing and decision-making.
But, he’s only just 22 years – still has the whole life ahead of him and can only get better. He has all the qualities needed to be a long-term replacement for Casemiro in Los Blancos‘ defensive midfield position, and the Frenchman’s versatility means that the two can coexist in the meantime too.
Such a high transfer fee naturally means that there will be a lot of expectations for the player, but Tchouaméni certainly has the potential to live up to it.
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