Real Madrid have a brand new Frenchman but he’s not Kylian Mbappé. Eduardo Camavinga’s arrival at Madrid ensures the club multiple visits between Spain and France didn’t come in vain, even if they were unable to secure PSG star asset’s signature.
The more informed will speak about what Camavinga brings to Real Madrid. Haven’t not seen much of the 18-year-old, I can’t comment too much on his playing style. However, I can talk about the dominos his signing sets in motion for a talented generation of midfielders at Castilla. Naturally, Antonio Blanco will be the first name that comes to mind, however, he’s not the only young talent Madrid currently boast that could hypothetically play in midfield. Ivan Morante is a very talented deep sitting midfielder that currently pairs Blanco in the middle of the park. Carlos Dotor doesn’t play in the same position as the aforementioned players, but is still talented enough that he deserves a mention.
For the current duo in the reserves, Camavinga’s arrival is a bad thing. Casemiro already makes the defensive midfield position at Madrid a hard one to break into. The Brazilian is still in his peak, doesn’t get injured and has been the club’s holiest cow since that famous Clasico performance in 2016. Camavinga’s arrival gives Madrid a clear backup at defensive midfield and the teenager’s young age means he’s also an obvious successor for Casemiro when the Brazilian eventually begins to decline. For one of Blanco and Morante, Camavinga ends their chances of playing with the first team, that much seems obvious should the new arrival pans out as is planned. The consequences of this is multi-layered.
Both Blanco and Morante are undoubtedly talented players, but banking on both of them to become first team regulars is a pretty irresponsible reasoning to miss out on the real deal in Camavinga. As talented as the midfielders are, there are factors outside of both Blanco and Morante’s control that will impact their careers like injury or coaching preference. You have to trust that by correctly nurturing each talent that the cream will rise to the top and you can cash in a profit on those that don’t make the cut.
In keeping with this, it’s now looking like a bad idea to keep Antonio Blanco around. The 21-year-old is flexible enough to play in a double pivot - or in a more advanced role based on a very small sample size - with the first team. However, Madrid’s midfield seems pretty stacked and Carlo Ancelotti’s continued faith in Isco in the early matches isn’t a good omen for Blanco in terms of first team minutes. A third season with Castilla isn’t a disaster, Blanco is only 21 and three years with the reserves is a relatively standard stint for Fabrica graduates. However, from a development standpoint, Blanco seems like a player in need of a new challenge that he isn’t going to find at Castilla.
If Madrid are keen to maximize his potential, then perhaps selling the Spanish midfielder with some sort of buy back option would be well advised. That way Real can avoid the risks they seem to persistently bump into when it comes to loans and Blanco will have more options in regard to a new challenge.
Looking further afield, in a world where both Camavinga, Blanco and Morante are the best versions of themselves, there is still a possibility that one of the two can co-exist with in defensive midfield. As previously mentioned, Blanco has played in a double pivot with the more conservatively deployed Morante and blossomed. Speaking with little to no knowledge of Camvinga’s skillset, I think there is a reality where Madrid could line out a double pivot of Blanco and Camavinga.
Morante could develop either way. I have watched matches of him where he’s played like an American football half back, dispatching sweeping passes from deep. I also saw games last season where Raul attempted to make him more offensive. His finishing often left alot to be desired but he got in the right positions to give one hope he could fill an advanced midfield position.
Equally, there is a pessimistic view to all this that says the ships sailed for both player at Real Madrid when Zidane limited their first team minutes in spite of the injuries and that Miguel Gutierrez and possibly Sergio Arribas will be the only first team graduates from this Castilla generation. The beauty of youth football is you can’t say for sure who’ll end up right in the end, all we can do is sit back and enjoy the present.