Real Madrid came out on the losing end of the soap opera Kylian Mbappé, who ultimately opted to stay at Paris-Saint-Germain, but he could still hold the rookie of the summer. The Spanish club is preparing to pay more than 100 million euros to secure the services of Aurélien Tchouaméni, as revealed this week by several media, including the site The Athletic.

After two full seasons at AS Monaco, the 22-year-old midfielder will enter a new galaxy, that of the most successful club in Europe: fourteen times winner of the Champions League (or ex-Cup of Champions Clubs , its former name until 1992), the last celebrated at the end of May at the Stade de France, against Liverpool.

Elected revelation of the French championship with Monaco in 2020-2021, Aurélie Tchouaméni confirmed her potential last season, working to hoist the Rocher team on the championship podium. Called up for the France team for the first time in August 2021, he also won the League of Nations with the Blues in the fall.

On Friday June 10, he will still be in the group selected by Didier Deschamps who will face Austria in the same League of Nations 2022-2023 edition. As he had been present in the two previous meetings, against Denmark and Croatia. With, for a player who was thus playing his sixtieth game of the season, a small drop in “performance”, as Didier Deschamps pointed out: “I’m not saying that he was not good. I found him to perform better in March, but he is the only player who has chained too, he is not a robot. »

“Cannot replace him with a player of the same level”

For Philippe Clement, his coach in Monaco, “it will be impossible to replace him with a player of the same level”. It is that, skillful in recovering the ball in the opposing feet, the number 8 is also a talented distributor of play towards the attackers. “I think he has really turned a corner in the use of the ball”, detailed in August 2021 in France Football his friend Jules Koundé, with whom he had been champion of France under 19 at the Girondins de Bordeaux.

However, the native of Rouen, who has never tasted a major international competition, such as a Euro or a World Cup, or Champions League matches beyond the summer preliminary rounds, does he not risk to burn your wings being propelled so high, so soon, and so expensive?

Admittedly, the midfielder still has everything to prove on the prestigious pitch of the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, but the maturity that characterizes him is an asset. Lionel Rouxel, who followed the 2000 generation of French teams from under 16 to under 20, can attest to this. Not always a starter in the selection, the young hopeful nevertheless followed all the steps.

“Aurélien was very observant and he printed the instructions,” notes the coach, who remembers individual interviews with him: “Aurélien wanted to play in the France A team and win the Champions League. You could see in his eyes that he had the will to put all the means to get there. This is perhaps the difference with some for whom these words were only a dream. »

Bac S in the wake of his first professional contract

During his childhood, the boy began by doing judo before putting on crampons in Artigues, in the Bordeaux region. Quickly spotted on the radars of the Girondins, he had the opportunity to join the club’s pre-training center. But the father, a pharmacist, and the mother, a principal education adviser, initially refused so that their son would grow up in the family setting. Then, this fan of North American culture (basketball, rap, etc.) studied at the Girondins until obtaining his first professional contract, at the age of 17, a few months before obtaining his baccalaureate.

At “the big ones”, the ambitious youngster initially struggled to find a place in the team, but he remained patient. “I’ve never seen him annoyed after a practice or upset that he didn’t play. He was always serious, diligent and respectful, ”certifies Younousse Sankharé, who was an executive of the Bordeaux group.

At the same time, the young Aurélien consulted a mental trainer with whom he put his finger on the pre-match “activation”. Concerned about the famous “invisible work”, the player relies on the skills of a video analyst, a psychologist, a physiotherapist, an osteopath, a physical trainer, a chef and a dietitian. “Before putting a sofa in his house, we first made a gym”, testified Jonathan Kébé, his agent, to France Football in August 2021.

In the Monegasque locker room, Aurélien Tchouaméni had approached the experienced Cesc Fabregas, double European champion and world champion with Spain, to capture some of his experience. He also took the opportunity to ask him for the phone number of Patrick Vieira, the former international, who became a coach, who played in the same position as him, “because he is a reference”. What he aspires to become one day in turn. Didier Deschamps, himself, in March after a friendly match against Côte d’Ivoire, had mentioned about him “enormous potential, with a lot of mastery”.