Real Madrid did not return from Paris with their main transfer target Kylian Mbappe, but the European champions could still be about to add one of the most in-demand French talents to their roster with AS Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni on the verge of a move to Spain. According to CBS Sports' Fabrizio Romano, the 22-year-old and his agent agreed the switch verbally last weekend before Los Blancos beat Liverpool 1-0 to win their 14th UEFA Champions League title with the Spanish giants Tchouameni's priority this summer. And talks are now ongoing between the two clubs to finalize a move.
Real have now improved their offer for the former Girondins de Bordeaux man to around $86 million plus add-ons as they look to out-bid Paris Saint-Germain who are also pushing for the France international's signature with Mbappe playing a key role after having recently snubbed the interest from Carlo Ancelotti's men. Should he join, the giants of La Liga will add Tchouameni to Eduardo Camavinga as young French midfielders who have joined Los Blancos over the past 12 months, giving them two of the top young midfield talents in the world game behind the likes of an evergreen Luka Madric, serial winner Toni Kroos and an understated Casemiro.
The necessary regeneration of this Real side has been a pressing question for months regardless of Mbappe's arrival with the middle of the field arguably the area most in need of rejuvenation given that Modric, Kroos and Casemiro's combined age is nearly 100. With that in mind, Tchouameni is the perfect addition to this group alongside Camavinga given how complete a talent he already is at just 22 years of age and the pair could end up succeeding the legendary Croat and the decorated German alongside Casemiro.
Aurelién Tchouaméni and his agent have reached verbal agreement with Real Madrid last weekend, before the UCL final. His priority has been clear for weeks. ⚪️ #RealMadrid— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 31, 2022
Real have improved their bid today for €80m plus add-ons as PSG were still pushing. Talks progressing. pic.twitter.com/Acvx6oF3L9
The man from Rouen is one of the brightest talents to emerge from Monaco since the heady days of their 2016-17 Ligue 1 triumph and Champions League run which momentarily made them the darlings of the European soccer scene. It did not take long for that team to be raided by Europe's richest clubs with the likes of Mbappe, Bernardo Silva, Fabinho, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Thomas Lemar and Benjamin Mendy all picked off by Les Monegasques' continental and domestic rivals, which led to some lean years at Stade Louis II as they tried to rebuild.
Those lean years have ended, however, and Tchouameni has emerged as the star talent as Monaco have gotten themselves back into the Champions League, and under first Niko Kovac and now Philippe Clement, he has performed consistently and earned himself a place in the France national team under Didier Deschamps. Now the cycle is set to repeat as Monaco have been bracing themselves for massive interest in Tchouameni for months and PSG's push to sign him as renowned talent spotter Luis Campos arrives at Parc des Princes has helped to bump up to price which will, in turn, aid Paul Mitchell's rebuild after Tchouameni is inevitably sold this summer.
The temptation with the imposing No. 8 is to assume that he thrives on the physical aspect of the game, but the truth is that he is technically impressive and can show off his well-rounded skillset much better when not required to anchor the midfield. Perhaps the best way to understand all that he has to offer is that in Ligue 1, no midfielder has intercepted more passes than Tchouameni's 3.10 per 90 minutes, while he is also 12th among midfielders in touches per 90 (a category skewed at the top by PSG whose midfielders occupy three of the top four spots in the measurement) and 10th in ball recoveries. In short, he does everything.
Based on age alone, it would be logical that Casemiro outlasts Modric and Kroos in the Real starting XI unless he is sold and that means that Tchouameni and Camavinga could potentially occupy the two other starting berths ahead of the Brazilian in a rough 4-3-3 shape. The Monegasque starlet has excelled of late thanks to his all-action approach and has shown himself equally adept at scoring, creating, and using his strength with two goals and an assist in the final three matches of the Ligue 1 season to ensure that the principality outfit reached the UCL playoff.
Given Federico Valverde's ability to play in the middle or out wide and Karim Benzema turning 35 later this year, Tchouameni and Camavinga together gives Ancelotti the possibility to also try different shapes and tactical setups. like a front two with a four man midfield should he feel the team needs to adjust its approach.
Outside of Real and PSG, there is little doubt that Liverpool or Chelsea could also have suited Tchouameni as he has the perfect Premier League profile, though former Monaco midfielder Bakayoko might have served as a cautionary tale that Tchouameni was not guaranteed success in England and the Chelsea takeover also lost the Blues crucial ground. Assuming he completes his move to Santiago Bernabeu, Tchouameni will take time to bed in and Ancelotti may well opt for a gradual approach which has worked wonders with Camavinga, but securing him now is shrewd succession planning on Real's part. Given that the financial element is also not near the levels required to land Mbappe before he extended his stay in Paris, there will also be further funds which will enable the continental kings to continue their much-needed rebuild this summer.
While missing out on Mbappe means Real didn't get their headliner, there's no doubt that Tchouameni is shrewd business, the kind of practical work that any top team needs to remain at elite levels. When the move is done Real will have themselves an important part of their midfield of the future, and a ready made heir to take over in midfield once Modric and Kroos finally begin to slow down. Not bad for a consolation prize.