Arsenal have officially announced their first men’s signing of the summer: left back Nuno Tavares from Benfica for £6.8M. The 21-year old made 25 appearances for the Portuguese side last season, racking up over 1300 minutes. He comes to North London as the primary backup for Kieran Tierney, a position of need for the Gunners.
Tavares spent Friday at London Colney signing his contract, meeting some of his teammates, and taking care of other administrative tasks after a five-day quarantine period upon arriving in England. As we can see from the cover photo, he’ll wear #20 next season, most recently worn by Shkodran Mustafi.
He speaks English quite well and gave an interview to Arsenal.com in which he talked about how happy he was to join a big club like Arsenal in the midst of an exciting youth movement. He mentioned Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka as guys on the current squad he admires, although I’d bet some of that comes from the scouting reports he undoubtedly studied when Arsenal played Benfica in the Europa League and seeing them up close and personal. And, as everyone seemingly does, he mentioned admiring Thierry Henry.
His honesty about the length of the transfer was amusing, he said, “it was not a quick process. There were more things about the contract, and with things between the clubs of Arsenal and Benfica. It was not quick, it took a long time, and the negotiations went not quickly.”
When asked about his qualities on the pitch, he said, “I am fast, I am good at shooting with my right foot, but I’m left-footed. I can dribble, improvising. That’s my qualities, my technique. I have more qualities and I will find more in this club.”
The Tavares signing is the first in what we expect will be a number of moves this transfer window. A deal for Albert Sambi Lokonga is reportedly close. Arsenal are probably also going to sign Ben White from Brighton. The Gunners will sign a backup keeper after locking in academy product Arthur Okonkwo as the third keeper. Edu also has several veteran players to offload. Nuno Tavares makes Sead Kolasinac redundant, and he was headed out anyway this summer. Granit Xhaka is likely on his way to Roma. Héctor Bellerín will be moved somewhere, right now, Inter Milan is the likeliest destination. Some or all of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah might be on the move.
It’s going to be a busy few weeks. By the way, the Premier League campaign starts in just over a month.