Eduardo Camavinga has been a name on the lips, and social media feeds, of football fans all summer. The 18-year-old French midfielder has come to represent all things to all men, with fans of any club needing engine room reinforcements demanding their hierarchy “Announce Camavinga”. As the teenager looks set to join Real Madrid after a summer of speculation, now is the ideal time to look at why a youngster with just 87 top flight games became the solution to every big club’s problems.
Part of the Stades Rennes youth academy since the age of 11, the Angola-born starlet became the youngest first-teamer in club history, debuting aged 16 years and four months against Angers. Camavinga would make six more Ligue 1 appearances in his debut season, as his club finished 10th in the league. Rennes would also capture the Coupe de France in a dramatic penalty-shootout victory over PSG, though Camavinga did not make the squad that day.
The teenager would truly break through as a regular in the following season. Camavinga played 25 times in Ligue 1, with his maturity and ability to dictate play marking him out as a future star. Camavinga’s dominant display in Rennes’ 2-1 upset victory over PSG exposed his gifts to a wider audience. The national team set-up took notice, calling Eduardo up for the November under-21 internationals. Less than a year later, he would make his bow for the senior France side, marking his debut for the world champions with a deft overhead flick to open the scoring in a 7-1 win over Ukraine.
Usually deployed as a defensive midfielder, Camavinga was utilised further forward last season, in a box-to-box role. Strong in possession, the promising teenager drove Rennes forward from deep, dribbling past players with a fine mix of speed and intelligence. That is not to say he has abandoned his defensive duties, as he averaged a very solid 2.8 tackles and 0.7 interceptions per game last term. Camavinga is also developing into an excellent passer, completing 89% of his deliveries in the 2020-21 campaign.
It is this sort of versatility that has seen Eduardo Camavinga become a constant social media trend during the 2021 summer window. Already a French international at the tender age of 18, with a wealth of first team experience beyond his years, you can see why the biggest clubs have tracked him closely. Manchester United have reportedly monitored him, and their fans were certainly keen. However, the player’s heart was set on a move to La Liga.
This opened the door for Barcelona and Real Madrid, Camavinga’s preferred destinations, to battle for his signature. With the Catalan giants still facing financial demons, Los Blancos moved into the box seat the moment it became clear he had little interest in an Old Trafford move. Camavinga joins a club that boasts an illustrious midfield. He will certainly face competition, with Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro among those he will challenge for game time. At 18, the promising midfielder will have time to find his bearings at the Bernabeu, and he is sure to benefit from playing alongside experienced, world class players.
With Modric turning 36 next month, and Kroos aged 31, the Madrid midfield will need an injection of youth in the coming seasons. Eduardo Camavinga could well go from being all things to all men in a window that he has dominated, to being the exact thing Real Madrid need.
Real Madrid are currently 11/10 to win La Liga outright this season with Betfred, while Barcelona and defending champions Atletico Madrid are 9/4 and 3/1 respectively.