Real Madrid have made their second signing in the summer to prepare for the 2022–23 season. With Kylian Mbappe dealing a decisive blow in the transfer proceedings, it allowed Madrid to shift their focus to other positions and sign premium players for the present and the future.
To do so, Madrid have secured the services of the best young defensive midfielder on the market, Aurelian Tchoumeni, who declined PSG’s offers to play for Los Merengues.
The 22-year-old Frenchman signed for 100m Euros (80m fixed + 20m add-ons) according to reports, and will arrive in Madrid’s midfield to play an anchor role and win. The former Monaco player will add depth and quality to the midfield, leaving Madrid one less thing to worry about.
Tchoumeni’s direct competition for the position will be with Casemiro, and while both are elite ball-winners, Tchoumeni’s game has subtleties that are quite different from the Brazilian’s style of play.
In this article we will attempt to answer some questions about the strengths and trends of the French international.
Tchouaméni comes on the back of a very good season with Monaco, having played 2929 league minutes and playing a key role in Monaco’s third-place finish this season. The Frenchman regularly plays as part of a double pivot in Monaco’s 4-2-3-1 system or as a lone midfielder in their 4-1-4-1 system.
Looking at their touchmap, their areas of operation become clear. The bright spots at the front of the box claim his screening presence for the backline, but playing in a double pivot gives him the freedom to advance into the opposition half as well. He is perfectly capable of playing the kind of box-to-box role he talks about being comfortable with.
Winning the ball is arguably Tchoumeni’s greatest strength. The Frenchman is a high volume defensive action player. His exceptional reading of the game and tracking passing lanes often allows him to intercept opposition attacks.
A physically impressive presence, Tchoumeni has an affinity for attempting to tackle. He has the reach and has the athleticism to take possession back from the opponent with his tackle, giving him an enormous area of control. His body shape makes him very good in 1v1 situations when making tackles. His tackle timing is also excellent more often than not as he often looks to jump and engage the opponent. He is moving deceptively fast and is closing the receiver, not giving them space.
His game reading really shines when looking at his interceptions, where he ranks third in Europe, having recorded four true interceptions (interception + blocked passes) per 90. If we look at his interception map, we can clearly see the defensive cover he provides on the sides. He is very good at passively marking an opponent to trap a pass in his area and then jumps in the way to stop him. His ability to anticipate passes is phenomenal.
His awareness allows him to keep track of runners in the back and channels. It provides protection against offensive passes to find players behind or in the middle of the lines. His position facilitates the advance from fullbacks and other teammates.
His position allows him to block the passing lane and also helps him to fix loose balls in the defensive 40% of the pitch. A look at his ball recovery map outlines a few things. The sheer amount of loose balls he recovers, an average of more than eight recoveries per 90, is unprecedented, with the high density of people visiting the central areas underpinning his screening presence. His position helps him in close reach to clean up on bad touches or wrong passes.
Tchouaméni is a physical animal. His athleticism is incredible and at 185cm he is also incredible in the air, boasting an aerial success rate of 71.3%, one of the best in Europe. This allows him to win headers in the middle of the pitch from opposition long balls or the goalie, but also adds offensive value to the box from freekicks and corners.
A huge ball winner, Tchoumeni is also very useful in possession and it is arguably the department that gives him the edge over Casemiro in isolation. His passing over the short and medium ranges is clear and precise. Over long distances, his passing is good, but it lacks the crispness and flight on the ball that often allows the opposition to come back.
One aspect of French’s passing is the verticality it provides. He is constantly on the lookout for goals that will help his side gain meaningful territory in the opposition’s half. His progressive nature on the ball adds more value to his stock. He ranks in the top 10 percentile for Progressive Pass in Europe among his peers.
He isn’t supposed to control the pace and direct the game from deep, but his passing allows him to move the ball quickly across the field in transition situations. While he’s not an elite passer-by like Krauss, he’s very serviceable in the department that circulation offers.
Unlike Valverde, he is not a powerful line breaking ball carrier from midfield. His carry is often short and is used to release some pressure before passing the ball. When he is given space, he takes the ball up the pitch. His starting speed allows him to survive pressure situations but line-breaking carries are not ideal for him.
While he attempts a lot of passes under pressure, a direct result of his position on the field, there is room for improvement in his passes in such situations. While he can’t run through opposition press like Modric and uses his close control to defeat oncoming press, he does use his body really well to maintain his possession or make a foul. Is. While creating chances is not his primary function on the pitch, he has a tendency to attempt passes into the box from wide areas and, when time and space permits in the front of the 18-yard-box, prefers to go on target. , recording 1.7 shots per 90.
Aurelian Tchoumeni 21-22 | as in monaco
Tchouaméni is a monster that makes reference to the pure amount of disruptive and ball-winning actions defensively. That midfield would make for a great screening appearance. He is good on the ball too.
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— kudos (@Odriozolite) 7 June 2022
At 22 years old, Tchoumeni is a physical beast and a brilliant mix of an exceptional ball winner, who can sweep everything in front of the defence, as well as being very useful in possession. There are many aspects that need to be worked on, such as their over-enthusiastic nature to quell opposition or their passing under pressure, but some of them may be hidden within the framework of the team’s structure. The midfield trio of Tchouaméni, Valverde and Camavinga is an exciting, energetic ball-winning paradise that has the ability to outshine opponents at any section of the game. It is also a midfield that is most dangerous in transition situations. It will be interesting to see how the team pans out next season, and to see the dynamics that develops among the youngsters.
Is Tchoumeni Premium Worth the Price? Only time will tell but given their age and transfermarket condition, it could pay dividends in the long run. Their success in Madrid will depend on a lot of things, from the team’s tactical set-up to their surroundings, but they have the tools to add value, provide defensive coverage and be an anchor helping possession – thus providing excellent Floor Rising Value for Real Madrid.
Will that become an instant starter? I think it will be easy. Will Tchoumeni be the best DM in the future? He certainly has the potential.