Real Madrid had splashed €80 million to bring Aurélien Tchouaméni to the Santiago Bernabéu this summer.
The young Frenchman did not cut an impressive figure in his Real Madrid debut when Los Blancos had lost 1-0 in a Las Vegas friendly to arch-rivals Barcelona.
Unsurprisingly, it led to impulsive criticism across footy social media.
The pressure built up on Tchouaméni as the La Liga season drew closer.
But once the season started, the 22-year-old appeared on cruise control, much to the dismay of the naysayers.
Aurélien Tchouaméni has been one of the standout performers for Real Madrid so far as the reigning La Liga and European champions had an unbeaten start to their season.
Lighting up La Liga
In a heated Madrid derby away at Wanda Metropolitano, Tchouaméni played like a seasoned midfield general.
His game reading was spot on, he constantly provided cover to his backline and neutralised Atlético Madrid attacks with his clever movements.
He pinged a vertical pass past the Atlético defence to set up Rodrygo’s goal to put the icing on the cake.
It was not a one-off performance from the youngster.
Aurélien Tchouaméni took no time to earn Carlo Ancelotti’s trust and fill the Casemiro-shaped void in the Real Madrid midfield.
He was marvellous against Celta Vigo and kicked it up a notch against Espanyol.
Besides dictating the midfield against the Catalonians, he was the orchestrator behind Vinicius Junior’s goal that grabbed the lead for Real Madrid in the first half.
Of course, these are early days.
A dip in form in the coming days will put the heat back on Aurélien Tchouaméni.
That said, it’s undeniable that the former-Monaco man has shown us glimpses of a promising future.
He exhibited the technical qualities and characteristic solidity that were required to compensate for the gap Casemiro had left in the Real Madrid midfield.
Tchouaméni hit the ground running playing alongside Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos.
He has appeared as the much-needed infusion of youth the Real Madrid midfield desperately needed.
Ancelotti heaps praise
Carlo Ancelotti did not back out from heaping praise on his new midfield recruit whenever he got the chance.
He hailed Tchouaméni for his great energy and calm presence in the middle of the park.
The four-time Champions League-winning tactician pinpointed Tchouaméni’s ability to maintain concentration throughout the game and praised him as an “extraordinary signing” for Real Madrid.
Real Madrid had to fight off heavyweights like Liverpool, Chelsea and PSG to secure the signing of Aurélien Tchouaméni.
Before moving to the Spanish capital, the France international had played only four senior seasons for Bordeaux and Monaco.
In his short tenure in France, he displayed enough quality to make waves around the scouting networks of the European elites.
Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić have been midfield behemoths for Real Madrid, but none of them is getting any younger.
So, a changing of the guard is imminent. Besides fellow youngster Eduardo Camavinga, it’s up to Aurélien Tchouaméni to carry on the torch.
It’s evident that Madrid have a generational talent in their hands, and the early signs indicate he is up for the challenge.