Real Madrid's hunt for Casemiro's double: Kanté, Camavinga, Soumaré

While N'Golo Kanté’s numbers indicate that he is the most similar player to Casemiro, Real Madrid's first choice is Rennes youngster Eduardo Camavinga.

Real Madrid's hunt for Casemiro's double: Kanté, Camavinga, Soumaré

Real Madrid have begun the hunt for Casemiro’s body double, with three players in particular within the club’s sights. Rennes’ 17-year-old starlet Eduardo Camavinga is the most preferred option due to his age, almost limitless potential, physical prowess and technical ability. Then there is the more established N’Golo Kanté, Chelsea’s 29-year-old playmaker who is already a Premier League and World Cup champion.

Meanwhile, the third player on the list is Boubakary Soumaré. The 21-year-old Lille midfielder is theoretically the most affordable of the three but not due to a lack of suitors. Jurgen Klopp, for one, has been watching him for a while now and sees him as a potential new figure for his Liverpool project.

Out of these three options that Zinedine Zidane and the club are considering to come in as cover for Casemiro, who has been indispensable for the French coach this season, Kanté is currently the closest thing to the Brazilian’s body double. The pair’s stats are equal in several areas, with Kanté perhaps even slightly edging things overall.

Eduardo Camavinga in action for Rennes.

Kanté-Casemiro stats comparison

During a season in which injuries have slightly eroded his indestructible image, Kanté’s ball recovery average is equal to Casemiro’s (one every 10 minutes); the Frenchman averages the same number of touches as the Brazilian (one every 1.2 minutes), while their pass success rate is almost equal at 83%. They have also scored the same number of goals (three).

Meanwhile, there are other areas in which one player is stronger than the other. Casemiro, for example, is more powerful in the air (clearing a ball with his head every 79 minutes, compared to Kanté’s average of a headed clearance every 197 minutes); the Brazilian has more assists (two to zero) and averages more shots on goal (one every 65 minutes compared to Kanté’s one every 86 minutes). On the other hand, Kanté creates more chances (one every 57 minutes compared to the Brazilian's one every 222 minutes) and is more active in the in the opponents penalty area, where he averages a touch every 43 minutes and Casemiro, one every 76 minutes.

The stats put Kanté closer to Casemiro than Camavinga and Soumaré. However, there are some areas in which Camavinga trumps the Chelsea midfielder. For example, Camavinga averages a tackle every 20 minutes; Kanté, one every 36 minutes. The teenager has also emerged as a player who can choose a pass quickly and effectively: his pass success rate is at 87.6% compared to Kanté's aforementioned 83.2%, although here Soumaré trumps the other three with a passing accuracy of 89.7%. 

The four players' stats this season

Games played  25 18 25 20
Games started 25 16 24 15
Minutes played 2,220 1,385 2,112 1,216
Goals scored 3 (one every 740') 3 (one every 740') 1 (one every 2,112') 0
Assists 2 (one every 653') 0 2 (one every 1,056') 0
Shots 34 (every 65') 16 (every 86') 15 (every 140') 1 (every 1,216')
Chances Created 10 (every 222') 24 (every 57') 7 (every 301') 12 (every 101')
Passes attempted 1,521 (every 1,4') 859 (every 1,6') 975 (every2,1') 753 (every 1,6')
Pass success rate 83.7% 83.2% 87.6% 89.7%
Total touches 1,966 (every1,2') 1,166 (every 1,2') 1,383 (every 1,5') 906 (every 1,3')
Touches in opponents' area 29 (every 76') 32 (every 43') 9 (every 234') 4 (every 304')
Ball recoveries 218 (every 10') 132 (every 10') 147 (every 14') 85 (every 14')
Balls lost 301 (every 7') 239 (every 6') 179 (every 11') 120 (every 10')
Tackles  83 (every 26') 38 (every 36') 105 (every 20') 19 (every 64')
Headed clearences 28 (every 79') 7 (every 197') 12 (every 176') 2 (every 608')
Fouls commtted 64 (every 34') 37 (every 37') 48 (every 44') 16 (every 76')
Fouls suffered 40 (every 55') 8 (every 173') 59 (every 35') 10 (every 121')
Source: OPTA

Why Camavinga is the preferred option over Kanté.

While Kanté’s numbers indicate that he is the most similar player to Casemiro, Real Madrid's first choice is Camavinga. Of course, the Chelsea player guarantees immediate performance at the highest level and is already accustomed to the demands of playing at an elite club. However his age (29), price tag (France Football claims that Chelsea will not let him go for less than 70 million euros) and the emerging signs that he is beyond his physical best, means 17-year-old Camavinga is the more desirable and viable option.

And considering that Casemiro is an undisputed starter for Zidane, the young Rennes player is seen as the perfect candidate to come in and earn his stripes as the Brazilian’s understudy – a position which the more-established Kanté would unlikely be willing to assume. But unlike Raphael Varane, for example, who arrived at the Bernabéu from Lens for 10 million euros in 2011, Camavinga won’t come cheap, with Rennes set to demand 50 million euros for the French-Angolan midfielder.