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Ligue 1: Meet Rennes' 16-year-old prodigy Eduardo Camavinga, who starred in shock win over PSG

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Meet Eduardo Camavinga: Rennes’ 16-year-old midfield prodigy misplaced just ONE pass as he inspired his side to a shock win over PSG… so, just who is French football’s next wonderkid?

  • Eduardo Camavinga starred in Rennes’ shock victory against champions PSG 
  • The 16-year-old dominated the midfield on Saturday and registered an assist
  • The starlet’s progress is reportedly being closely tracked by Arsenal and PSG
  • Here, Sportsmail takes a closer look at French football’s newest rising star 

Eduardo Camavinga spectacularly announced himself on the global stage after a dominating performance in Rennes’ surprise victory against Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday.

The 16-year-old midfielder earned countless plaudits after a mature all-round display against Thomas Tuchel’s side, and has reportedly drawn the attention of the Ligue 1 champions and Arsenal.

Here, Sportsmail delves deeper into the youngster’s rapid rise to first-team football, what attributes make him such a midfield menace and what could potentially lie ahead for him in the future.

Who is he? 

Camavinga is a 16-year-old midfielder who rose through the ranks at French top flight outfit Rennes. 

He has been prominently deployed as a defensive midfielder throughout his senior career, often with limited license to push forward. But it is clear he possesses the traits required to mature into a classy box to box destroyer.

His breakout performance came in Saturday’s victory against Paris Saint-Germain, in which he even recorded an assist for Romain Del Castillo’s winner. 

Eduardo Camavinga starred in Rennes' shock victory against Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday

Eduardo Camavinga starred in Rennes’ shock victory against Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday

How did he make it to the first team so soon? 

The starlet moved to Brittany and was playing football for his local side AGL-Drapeau Fougeres by the age of six. It was there that his versatility and coolness in possession were discovered to comfortably be beyond that of his peers.

The club were a partner to the Rennes academy, and Camavinga soon made the switch across at the age of 11 after his considerate talents were spotted. 

He put pen to paper on his first professional contract just a month after his 16th birthday, becoming the youngster player to do so in the club’s history. 

In April 2019, Camavinga made his first team debut after being introduced as a late substitute away at Angers. His first start came shortly after against Monaco, earning him the achievement of being the first player born after January 1 2002 to start a game in the top five European leagues.

His introduction into the first team setup has continued at the start of the new Ligue 1 campaign. 

The 16-year-old earned plaudits after dominating the midfielder and creating the hosts' winner

The 16-year-old earned plaudits after dominating the midfielder and creating the hosts' winner

The 16-year-old earned plaudits after dominating the midfielder and creating the hosts’ winner

Rennes manager Julien Stephan has eased Camavinga into the club's first team set-up

Rennes manager Julien Stephan has eased Camavinga into the club's first team set-up

Rennes manager Julien Stephan has eased Camavinga into the club’s first team set-up

What’s his style of play?

Camavinga’s showing in this season’s league opener against Montpellier was particularly impressive, which further demonstrated his abilities to seize control of a midfield battle. 

In the clash, he won 63% of his duels despite his tender age and misplaced just one of his 41 passes throughout. The statistics are made even more noteworthy considering Rennes had been reduced to ten men, placing further impetus on Camavinga to dominate the middle of the park for his teammates. 

His strengths lie in his energy, poise and ability to read the game – all traits that were spotted during his time in the club’s academy.  These allow him to use a relentless pace to break up passages of play and carry the ball forward, although he is also wary of being dragged out of position. 

But his willingness for a challenge and nonchalant nature in possession can sometimes lead him into tricky situations that result in the opposition stealing the ball back. 

What have people said about him?

After Camavinga’s stellar showing against PSG, Rennes boss Julien Stephan said: ‘He played a match, indeed, like the whole team – very interesting.

‘We are talking to him. He is someone who is also very well-constructed intellectually, who knows how to question himself, who knows how to ask the right questions.

‘Many of the pros have taken him under their wing, because he is very respectful in the dressing room and very attentive to their advice. He blossomed with us this summer.’  

Jo Burel, who was a coach at AGL-Drapeau Fougeres, added: ‘This is the first time I’d seen a player with such qualities.

‘When we wanted to maintain a result, we put him in defence, if we needed a goal, we would put him in attack. He had the ability to do both.’ 

Camavinga started his career at Rennes at the age of 11 before rapidly rising through the ranks

Camavinga started his career at Rennes at the age of 11 before rapidly rising through the ranks

Camavinga started his career at Rennes at the age of 11 before rapidly rising through the ranks

What does the future hold?

The 16-year-old’s meteoric rise to Rennes’ first team hints at an incredibly bright future, which is likely to lie at one of Europe’s elite sides. 

After he set up Rennes’ winner against PSG, reports have emerged that suggest the French champions and Premier League giant Arsenal are both interested in swooping for the youngster. 

Camavinga may even be eyeing up international football. He has begun the process of gaining French nationality, which means that a debut for Les Blues looks inevitable at some stage, albeit initially at youth level.   

However, his immediate future lies at Rennes, who will be hoping to build on a tenth place finish last season. 

The 16-year-old has applied for French nationality and could feature for Les Blues in the future

The 16-year-old has applied for French nationality and could feature for Les Blues in the future

The 16-year-old has applied for French nationality and could feature for Les Blues in the future



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Transfer news: £60m star reveals he almost joined Arsenal as player arrives for trial

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The interlull is in full swing but there is still plenty of Arsenal-related news floating around so here are a couple of transfer bits for you to get your teeth in to….

As reported by talkSPORT, Riyad Mahrez has confirmed he almost joined Arsenal in 2016 but Leicester blocked the move before he eventually moved to Man City for £60m two years later.

Mahrez was instrumental in helping Leicester stun the world by winning the Premier League and unsurprisingly he attracted interest from Arsenal after being named as the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2016.

At one stage a move looked inevitable and Mahrez has confirmed he was close to sealing a transfer to the Emirates after holding talks with Arsene Wenger before Leicester block the deal and forced him to stay at the King Power.

The attacker has expressed his frustration at being denied his move to Arsenal back in 2016 but he eventually got a big move after sealing a £60m switch to Man City in 2018.

He told France Football:

“After the title, if I’d left for a top team, it wouldn’t have been the same story. For me, it’s clear that I lost two years at the highest level. I lost two years! Because instead of arriving at City at 27, I could have been there at 24, 25.

“Leicester blocked me. They told me: ‘You’re not leaving, you’re not leaving’. My agent had spoken to [Arsene] Wenger who really wanted me. It was nearly all done with Arsenal in 2016. I was really frustrated.

“It wasn’t easy to go from being the best player in the Premier League to being a part of a team fighting against relegation. It’s not the same job. Everyone is waiting for you around the corner.”

Mahrez would have been an excellent signing for Arsenal in 2016 but we failed to sign him and team mate Jamie Vardy so they’ll join the long list of players Wenger ‘nearly’ signed.

Next up and according to TeamTalk, Colorado Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett is spending the week on trail with Arsenal as he bids to try and secure a move to North London.

The report says Bassett will train with the U23s this week but the 18-year-old is hoping to earn the chance to train with the first team and make up the numbers with several players away on international duty.

Bassett says Arsenal are his ‘favourite club’ so he’s delighted to have been given the chance to show what he can do and he’s desperate to learn from such a great club.

According to TeamTalk, Bassett told the Denver Post:

“As most people already know, this is my favourite club, I don’t know which team it will be because it’s an international break for them. Hopefully, there will be a couple of guys missing with the first team and I can get with them. But I’m just excited to get over there and show up basically.

“When Arsenal came over here and played us, you could see there are little things that they do that I just don’t quite have yet. I’m eager to learn from them. Picking up things from every player will help improve my game. It’s going to be a great learning experience.”

Stan Kronke, Arsenal’s much maligned owner, also owns the Colorado Rapids so it looks like the connection between the two clubs has led to Bassett being given an opportunity to have a trial at London Colney.

The teenager is highly rated in the US and Bundesliga side Freiburg tried to buy him last year following a successful trial but Colorado knocked back their proposal in favour of keeping hold of the player.

Bassett has scored two goals and provided one assist in his 20 MLS games this year and was selected for the MLS Homegrown All-Star game. It remains to be seen whether he has what it takes to make it at Arsenal but it sounds like he’s ready to work hard to try and secure a move to the club. Good luck to the lad.



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Arsenal and Tottenham backed for transfer battle for ‘perfect’ Leicester star

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Leicester City star Ricardo Pereira would be an improvement on both Arsenal and Tottenham’s first-choice right-backs, claims former Chelsea defender Jason Cundy.

Pereira has become one of the top right-sided defenders in the Premier League since joining Leicester from Porto in the summer of 2018.

And Cundy has suggested there should be a transfer battle between north London rivals Arsenal and Spurs for him.

Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin is just returning to full fitness from a long-term injury, making his first Premier League appearance since in the 2-0 loss to Leicester on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Tottenham’s Serge Aurier has received criticism for his performances this season, with Spurs choosing to sell England international Kieran Trippier in the summer.

So Cundy reckons Pereira would be a better option for both sides.

“I know [James] Vardy gets all the plaudits, I know [James] Maddison does and he was brilliant at the weekend,” Cundy said on talkSPORT.

“But Ricardo Pereira, and this is not just based on what I’ve seen this season and at the weekend, last season as well.

“He scored a brilliant goal against Manchester City, he gets in those advanced areas.

“He is the perfect example of what a modern day right-back is – they’re not just a defender.

“[Trent] Alexander-Arnold, you look at what he does – he’s not just a defender.

“But Ricardo Pereira is certainly one of the best right-backs in the country, I think Leicester are incredibly fortunate to have him.

“They paid around £20m for him but you think about other clubs that are looking for a right-back – Arsenal.

“Arsenal’s always going to be that team that you compare Leicester to, and Spurs.

“Spurs, their right-back is nowhere near as good. They just released Trippier of course and Kyle Walker moved on a couple of years ago.

“That’s the sort of player that Spurs should be having at right-back.”

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MLS wonderkid Cole Bassett 'handed week-long trial by Arsenal'

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MLS wonderkid Cole Bassett ‘handed week-long trial by Arsenal’ ahead of potential January move for 18-year-old Gunners supporter  

  • Colorado Rapids teenager Cole Bassett will train with Arsenal’s Under 23 side 
  • Arsenal supporter Bassett scored two goals in 29 games for the Rapids in 2019
  • Colorado Rapids and Arsenal have connection through Stan Kroenke 

Arsenal have handed a week-long trial to Colorado Rapids wonderkid Cole Bassett after the 18-year-old impressed during his breakthrough MLS campaign. 

Bassett, who is a big Arsenal supporter, will train with the club’s Under 23 side ahead of a potential move in January. 

The trial period will be made easy to facilitate as Arsenal’s majority shareholder Stan Kroenke also owns MLS outfit Colarado Rapids.   

Arsenal want to have a close look at Colorado Rapids wonderkid Cole Bassett

Arsenal want to have a close look at Colorado Rapids wonderkid Cole Bassett

Bassett, speaking to The Denver Post, said of his trial in England: ‘As most people already know, this is my favourite club.

‘I don’t know which team it will be because it’s an international break for them.

‘Hopefully, there will be a couple of guys missing with the first team and I can get with them.

‘But I’m just excited to get over there and show up basically.’

Bassett scored two goals in 29 MLS games during the 2019 season.  

 



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