Arsenal have confirmed the signing of full-back Nuno Tavares from Benfica on a long-term contract, to add vital depth to their squad.
The 21-year-old, who predominantly plays as a left-back, progressed nicely through Benfica’s youth ranks. Following his rise, he entered the first team in summer 2019, making his breakthrough after the first coronavirus lockdown. Since then, though, he has played a key role for the club, earning Europa League experience to boot.
Now, though, he will serve as key back-up to standout left-back Kieran Tierney.
Still, he can also play on the right of defence and in the left of midfield.
Speaking to Arsenal’s official website, Gunners manager Mikel Arteta hailed Tavares’ energy as a key quality.
“We welcome Nuno to the club,” the Spaniard said.
“He is a young player with great promise who has developed very well with Benfica in recent seasons and has also shown his quality by being part of Portugal Under-21s.
“Nuno’s arrival will give the squad extra strength and options in defence, particularly with this energy on the left side of the pitch. We look forward to Nuno’s arrival soon, his integration into the Arsenal family and playing in front of our fantastic supporters.”
Technical director Edu added: “Nuno is a talented young player who was wanted by a number of clubs across Europe.
“He will provide strong back-up in the left-back position. We look forward to him growing and developing with us and becoming an important member of the first-team squad.”
The Daily Mail reports that Arsenal have paid £6.8million and £1.5million in add-ons for Tavares.
He has also made strides on the international stage. He featured in the recent Under-21 European Championships for Portugal.
Back at club level, though, he picked out exit-linked Emile Smith Rowe as an Arsenal player he admires most.
The midfielder may be a year younger than Tavares, but turned the club’s form around last season.
Nuno Tavares hails Arsenal man
“In the present I like [Emile Smith Rowe], because he is my generation,” the left-back said in his interview on Arsenal’s website.
“He’s played against us, on the same side – he played on the right, I played on the left – for the selection [youth] team.
“He’s a good player, and I see [Bukayo] Saka too. Young players, good players. From the past I like [Thierry] Henry. A very good player, and it’s good for me to remember that story.
“You have a good project. Young people, it’s good for me and we learn together, because we can understand together and we can have an evolution together with the young guys. It’s the same. It’s a good project with young guys and we understand each other.”
As reported by reliable journalist Fabrizio Romano (via Twitter), Arsenal hope to get a transfer for Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga over the line in the coming days.
Meanwhile, Arsenal are close to tying exciting youngster Kido Taylor-Hart down to a new contract.