Real Madrid

Aurelien Tchouameni: How new midfielder will fit at Real Madrid

Tom Gott
Tchouameni is heading to Madrid
Tchouameni is heading to Madrid / Sylvain Lefevre/GettyImages

Real Madrid had to fight off competition from most of the world's top teams to land Aurelien Tchouameni from Monaco, and it's not hard to see why.

The 22-year-old has been confirmed as the latest recruit at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Real paying a cool €100m to bring him in on a six-year deal.

It's the sort of fee that you can expect to pay for a player who was among Europe's finest in his position last year and is still not in his prime. Real know Tchouameni is something special, and it's why they had to pay the big bucks. If they didn't, somebody else would have.

So, it begs the question - how will Carlo Ancelotti use his new €100m man?

Aurelien Tchouameni's best position

Tchouameni spent most of his time at Monaco playing as a defensive midfielder alongside Youssouf Fofana. The pair would interchange roles, with one screening the defence and the other pressing forward.

His aggressive pressing is phenomenal as his ability to cut into passing lanes that opponents hadn't even looked for yet. Tchouameni hoovers up loose passes and makes so many tackles during matches as he is constantly all over the pitch.

At times, however, Monaco would opt for a 4-1-4-1 setup with Tchouameni as the lone defensive midfielder. The Frenchman would be forced to subdue his desire to buzz around the field in favour of more of an anchor man, looking at ease doing that job as well.

Tchouameni has spent time in a more advanced role, similar in position to those taken by Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. There, he's a shuttling, box-to-box midfielder with a keen eye for a progressive pass and a love of a long shot which isn't always justified by the quality of the efforts he sends goalward.

However, his strongest points are undoubtedly to do with his defensive skills, meaning he is better suited to a deeper role - the Casemiro spot, if you will.

How Aurelien Tchouameni will fit in at Real Madrid in 2022/23

This one is a bit tricky. Real's midfield is the famous trio of Modric, Kroos and Casemiro - none of whom need urgently replacing. Their quality is the reason why 19-year-old Eduardo Camavinga started just 13 La Liga games last year.

Saying that, Tchouameni's expensive arrival could be the catalyst for the changing of the guard at Real. Modric is nearly 37 and required regular rests to stay fit last season, while Kroos is 32 and showed signs that his legs may well be starting to fail him as well. The duo will require frequent breaks from the team, which will open the door for Tchouameni to see regular minutes.

His future is likely as a defensive midfielder, filling the Casemiro void further down the line, but in the short term, it would not be a surprise to see Tchouameni play anywhere across Real's midfield. He's easily good enough to do so.

What the future holds for Real Madrid's midfield

While Real are synonymous with a 4-3-3 formation, that could be about to change as Modric and Kroos approach the twilight of their respective careers.

Tchouameni and Camavinga are two of the game's best youngsters, but neither fits flawlessly into the idea of a Modric-Casemiro-Kroos midfield.

They don't really want to sit deep and shield a defence, but neither boasts that elite eye for a pass either. They're more do-it-all players who would be devastating alongside one another in a 4-2-3-1, similar to how Monaco got the best out of Tchouameni.

Zinedine Zidane flirted with that formation a few times during his time in charge and Ancelotti would be wise to do the same to get the most out of his talented Frenchmen, who look capable of forming one of the all-time greatest pivots if they continue their frightening development.