Nuno Tavares kicks off Arsenal’s summer spending

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta applauds fans after the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, L

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta applauds fans after the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday May 23, 2021. - Credit: PA

Arsenal have signed Portuguese left back Nuno Tavares from Benfica for a reported fee of £6.9 million plus add-ons.

The 21-year-old joins on a 5-year deal to play as an understudy to Kieran Tierney, who himself has recently signed a new 5-year contract. 

Tavares made 25 appearances for Benfica last season, including a substitute outing against Arsenal during their Europa League Round of 32 clash in February. 

A backup left back has been a priority for Mikel Arteta since January when he said: “We are a little bit short with left-footed fullbacks at the moment. That means that the option is open, and we will look to see what is available.”

With injuries keeping Tierney out for spells last season, Arteta was forced to experiment with both Cedric and Xhaka filling in at left back with little success, highlighting left back as a key position for Arsenal to address this window.

Tavares is a skilful fullback who looks to make his mark on the attacking side of the game, taking players on and carrying the ball to create crossing opportunities.   

The young fullback has spent just 2 years in Benfica’s first team, having joined the club as a youth player in 2015. He has made 41 appearances in total for the Portuguese side, registering 1 goal and 7 assists. 

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 With Tierney’s injury struggles, Tavares should prove a young, capable deputy who fits the profile Arteta is looking for at Arsenal.

 Although Tavares is primarily expected to fill in at left back, he featured at right back a handful of times for Benfica, proving his versatility and potentially helping to solve two of Arsenal’s issues this summer.

With rumours of Hector Bellerin leaving the club this window, Tavares could help cover on the right hand side with Calum Chambers for the upcoming season, should Arsenal not sign another right back. 

Tavares marks Arsenal’s first signing of what is expected to be a busy summer, with the Gunners looking to improve on last season’s 8th place finish.