Aurelien Tchouameni has confirmed that he expects to play the majority of his minutes as a defensive midfielder after signing for Real Madrid.
The 22-year-old has joined in a deal worth €100m and now has the unenviable task of competing for minutes against one of the greatest midfield trios of all time: Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.
He has experience playing further forward but made his name as a defensive midfielder in a pivot alongside Youssouf Fofana at Monaco, but must now adapt to the 4-3-3 setup that Real pride themselves on.
“Since I was little, I have always played with two midfielders,” Tchouameni explained. “At Real Madrid, who play with a 4-3-3, my position will probably be as a six [defensive midfielder], but I can also play as an eight [central midfielder].”
Tchouameni appears set to compete directly for minutes with 30-year-old Casemiro, who signed a new contract in August to commit himself to the club until 2025, but he will also join Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga in filling in for Luka Modric and Toni Kroos further forwards.
“Casemiro has had an exceptional career,” Tchouameni said of his new teammate. “When I was young, I used to watch Madrid matches and I have been very inspired by all their players who played as a six.
“If one day I win five Champions Leagues like him, it will mean that I’ve not done badly for myself.”
He added: “[Earning minutes] is a challenge. My head is at Real Madrid, and although I could have more guaranteed minutes with other teams, I want this challenge.”
Tchouameni also confirmed that he will wear the number 18 shirt vacated by Gareth Bale.
“I have worn the number eight for many years, but here that belongs to Kroos,” he explained. “When I arrived, I asked what shirt numbers were available, and they told me 18, so I chose it because it is the closest thing to eight.”