Manchester United can get Eduardo Camavinga from Rennes for €30-€40 million (around £26-£34m), according to Get French Football News’ (GFFN) reporter on the French club, Rich Allen.
Camavinga is entering the last year of his contract with Rennes and is expected to leave this summer, with United reportedly having taken an early lead in the hunt to sign him.
Allen, a Rennes supporter since the 1990s and a journalist with GFFN and French Football Weekly gave The Peoples Person an exclusive interview in which he shared his insights on the 18-year-old and his potential transfer to the Red Devils, which we have been following in a series of reports this week.
The Peoples Person: Rich, we’ve heard stories of Rennes having set an asking price of €100 million (£86m) as a ‘negotiation tactic’, although Rennes’ manager Bruno Genesio has denied this. What are your impressions of how much the club realistically hope to get for the starlet?
Rich Allen: The €100 million figure was always on the slightly optimistic side and really originated from his breakout season in 2019/20 and perhaps most importantly pre-pandemic. With another season closer to his contract expiry, and a season which he perhaps really struggled to consistently hit the heights of the previous campaign, that hopeful figure has been forgotten. My belief is that they would be looking at around €30-40m, with a real push towards the top end of that.
The Peoples Person: And the bottom line – is anything in this window truly better than nothing or do they have a minimum?
Rich Allen: Rennes have been looking to extend Camavinga’s contract, however with a change in various circumstances, including staff changes, player departures and a change of agent, the chances of successfully negotiating that extension are getting slimmer.
With rumours of him looking for a bumper salary increase to almost unprecedented levels at the club, if he doesn’t sign a new contract then the club will look to make a sale. Like so many clubs in France, they cannot afford to really let valuable players leave for free and so I would imagine that would take the best offer this summer rather than let him leave for nothing at the end of the season. Of course, there will be minimums, and I expect the club won’t really look to entertain offers much below the €30m (£25.8m) mark.
The Peoples Person: Is this the right time for him to move to a big club like United? Do you expect him to be able to go straight into the first team?
Rich Allen: I would personally question whether this is the right time for him to move, especially to the Premier League. Last season demonstrated that despite all the acclaim he receives in the media, he still needs to ensure he is consistently playing well. Further development is definitely needed and I do honestly believe another couple of seasons with Rennes would do him the world of good. We have unfortunately seen too many young potential superstars make a move at the wrong time. I would hope that Camavinga, who has always come across as very level headed, can acknowledge that playing time and development are the most important areas for him now.
There are still areas to his game that I would like to see him improve upon before making a move such as to United. At present, I think there is enough there for him to at least be given a run of starts, however I do fear that fans could easily get frustrated if he doesn’t hit the ground running. I go back to my belief that he still needs further time to develop before a move of this nature.
The Peoples Person: Could he play as a single holding defensive midfielder in the Premier League, and are you aware of the position United want him for?
Rich Allen: I personally wouldn’t want to see him play in this position. His future is as a box to box midfielder. He can read the game well, has decent distribution and is not afraid to make tackles, but he also loves to get on the ball and take it forward.
At Rennes, his best performances came alongside Steven N’Zonzi. N’Zonzi would be the one to sit back, more in the holding defensive role, which allowed Camavinga to operate at either end of the pitch. With Pogba a similar box to box player, I would be curious to see how they would get on together – I would suggest they could work together if there was an additional midfielder there to stay deep.
The Peoples Person: Do Rennes have a natural replacement for him or anyone in mind?
Rich Allen: Fortunately the youth academy at Rennes is one of the best around. Just as Camavinga came off the production line, another young midfielder appears destined to take over when his inevitable departure does come. 17 year old Lesley Ugochukwu broke into the first team last season and I expect we will see more of him this season. With N’Zonzi having also left, I would expect the club to also bring in an experienced midfielder too.
The Peoples Person: Mohamed Bouhafsi at RMC Sport says he’d prefer a PSG move. Is that true, and how likely are they to make a move?
Rich Allen: I don’t know if there is a real preference at the moment. Real Madrid have probably been the club most consistently linked with a move for him but that has perhaps waned a little, as other clubs have entered the fray and Zidane, who Camavinga is a fan of, has departed. If he were to move, PSG might not be a bad step as it keeps him within the confines of Ligue 1, where the media focus might be less intrusive, despite it being PSG, when compared to the Premier League.
The Peoples Person: Would Pogba staying or going be a factor in his decision? And would Varane coming to United also help?
Rich Allen: Varane possibly could be a factor, but it is Pogba who would be more of a pull for Camavinga. Back in November 2019, Camavinga declared Pogba as his idol. The chance to play alongside him could therefore prove to be a powerful negotiation tool.
The Peoples Person: Speaking of Pogba, what is the word on the street there? Will he be signing a new contract at United or will he be on his way?
Rich Allen: The stories linking him to PSG are getting stronger, almost by the day. Raiola and Leonardo have developed a pretty good working relationship over the years. Pogba to PSG would make some sense to a degree, but I think PSG would need to offload several players in order to make a move. With Camavinga also linked to PSG, it remains to be seen if PSG will go for either or even both. Aside from that, the stories do seem more in favour of a Pogba departure rather than a contract extension.
The Peoples Person: Thanks a lot for your time, Rich.