Sorry Man Utd, Camavinga has just added a few millions to his price tag

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Every time the hottest young prospect bursts onto the scene, we all try to remind ourselves of the same warnings.

We’ve been here before plenty of times. Often only the most special of talents go on to fulfil the promise the show at an early age. For every Lionel Messi, there are a dozen more examples of a Bojan Krkic.

In the case of someone like Michael Owen, sometimes a player’s career doesn’t follow the traditional bell curve and they instead arrived fully formed, peaking as a teenager and cursed never to burn quite so bright again.

Jack Wilshere will always have That Night Against Barcelona™; sadly, he’ll always have glass ankles, too. Or what about someone like Mario Balotelli, thrust into a life of fame, wealth and status while still trying to process a difficult upbringing characterised by racism and foster care.

Eduardo Camavinga is the new kid on the block. Last season, aged 16, the Rennes midfielder schooled PSG to their first defeat of the campaign. One year on, he’s being heavily linked with a big-money transfer to either Manchester United or Real Madrid and has just been handed his first call up to France’s senior squad.

The potential is there for all to see. As Rennes former academy boss Landry Chauvin told Bleacher Report last year: “He has this simplicity that brings the ball to life. He touches the ball as much as anyone else, but sparingly. He doesn’t need to carry it. He passes the ball, he makes himself available; he passes, he makes himself available.”

Yet just as we were trying to remind ourselves it won’t – or perhaps it can’t – always be this easy for Camavinga, he came off the bench in Rennes’ season opener against Lille to shine in grabbing an assist, and then marked his first start of the campaign against Montpellier by doing this:

Despite the obvious individuality of the goal, there’s a suspicion that goal is almost too straightforward, that it’s all a bit too Ligue 1.

But then you see it from another angle and the beauty becomes increasingly apparent, particularly the grace and poise with which Camavinga, primarily seen as a defensive midfielder, moves with the ball at his feet.

Rennes were leading 10-man Montpelier 1-0 at the time but had just seen their forward Martin Terrier sent off four minutes earlier. When Camavinga received the ball on the left touchline, he did not look up to see a maze of opposition defenders, but rather a chance to seize the game by the scruff of the neck and secure all three points for his team.

It seems fitting Camavinga scored such a goal on the week he replaced Paul Pogba in the France squad. Pogba knows all to well both the luxuries and the trappings of hype at an early age, and the two players’ futures in the medium-term appear somewhat synced.

Both are wanted by Manchester United and Real Madrid; both currently find themselves at reluctant sellers; both, ultimately, will know that everyone has a price. If one decides their future lies at Old Trafford or the Bernabeu, it is likely to have impact on the other’s destination.

That’s enough about what we do or don’t know about the future. At the age of 17, Eduardo Camavinga has established himself as a footballer of the here and now. The future may well be his to own, but right now we can only hope he’s too busy enjoying the present.


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