Since the beginning of August, Stade Rennais have seen two things experience massive growth in their day-to-day operations as a football club and both of them are related to one player in their squad.
The first thing is the requests for match tickets from scouts all over Europe, which have soared. The second is the solicitations for sit-down interviews, which have also multiplied. All this for a 16-year-old kid who still can't drive his own car, is still going to school, still lives at the Academy and has played only 12 Ligue 1 matches in his career.
Eduardo Camavinga has just enjoyed the best month of his life. The midfielder was named Ligue 1's best player in August after stellar performances against Montpellier, Strasbourg and Paris Saint-Germain. He bossed the PSG midfield like few players do in France, let alone at 16. He outplayed Marco Verratti and Marquinhos and made a real name for himself that night but nothing about Camavinga's success feels like a surprise.
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Eighteen months ago, at the age of 15, Camavinga was already playing with the Rennes reserve team in the French fourth division and making a difference. Landry Chauvin, the former Rennes academy director, saw the phenomenon up close.
"Since he joined us at 10 years old from a local club, he was destined for great things. He was always ahead of everyone else in his age group but also everyone else one or two age groups above [him] in terms of talent, intelligence and maturity," Chauvin told ESPN FC.
Camavinga's prodigious talent was there for everyone to see. At the beginning of 2019 when he started to train with the first team, some were gobsmacked by what he could do.
"We were like 'wow,'" Hatem Ben Arfa, who played with Camavinga last season at Rennes, told ESPN FC. "He was incredible. Technically and physically, he is a monster. Everything he does is perfect. For me, he is the modern midfielder by definition. There is nothing he can't do. He can defend, tackle, head the ball, create, score, assist. He is powerful but gifted technically with his left foot. He is intelligent, elegant.
"You would have rarely seen a player like him at his age. Because let's not forget: he's still 16."
Camavinga's superb start to the Ligue 1 season has led to all kinds of player comparisons even though his position in the heart of midfield differs from that of other French prodigies. To one old coach, he's the next Kylian Mbappe. Chauvin compares him to Ousmane Dembele, expecting his career to take a similarly steep trajectory as Dembele, who moved from Rennes to Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona in just two years, but also admits that Camavinga is already more serious, disciplined and professional than Dembele has ever been.
His manager, Julien Stephan, is doing his best to keep his young star midfielder grounded. "He has huge potential and, if you can believe it, we didn't want to rush him into the first team," he said. "But there is a moment when you realise that there is no need to wait any longer because he is ready and he will bring a lot to the team even in Ligue 1.
"I just hope he will continue to work hard, continue to learn and to develop. We will certainly put him in the right environment for that."
Born in Angola to Congolese parents, Camavinga arrived in France with his family when he was 2. He grew up with his parents and five brothers and sisters on the outskirts of Rennes, where the club spotted him playing for local side AGL Drapeau Fougères. When he was young, the Camavingas' house burnt down and they lost everything, a tragedy that made Eduardo even more determined to succeed. Although he excelled at judo as a kid, football quickly became his thing and making it to the top was always his dream.
"He has always been dedicated about football. He has a football IQ way above average but he will not rest on his laurels," added Chauvin. "There are a lot of talented young players in the world but he has something special because his talent comes with maturity as well despite his young age."
The diamond from Rennes is, predictably, already attracting the interests of bigger clubs. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, to name just a few, have been following Camavinga for a while but have stepped up their interest in recent weeks after seeing how much of an impact he's already having in Ligue 1.
"Talent like this, so precocious but already so mature, doesn't come along very often in football. [Camavinga] has been so impressive. I don't think there is anyone as strong as him in Europe in his age group," a scout of a top European club told ESPN about the Rennes prodigy.
If you need further proof of how good Camavinga is, he's been at the heart of a huge battle from Europe's top agents to secure his representation. Mino Raiola (agent to Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic), Jorge Mendes (Cristiano Ronaldo, David de Gea), Giuliano Bertolucci (Marquinhos, David Luiz) and others have been knocking at his door, sources tell ESPN FC. He ultimately chose Moussa Sissoko, Dembele's agent, who lives in London and is quickly becoming more and more influential at top clubs.
Before thinking about his next move -- and there will be plenty of opportunities next summer -- the young midfielder is hoping that his French passport will finally arrive. His request should come through quickly now after waiting for years. Once he officially becomes a French citizen, Didier Deschamps will surely be quick in giving him a first call-up for Les Bleus.