Mikel Arteta ready to sell-off
Two-and-a-half years after Nuno Tavares joined Arsenal from Benfica, Mikel Arteta is believed to have decided that defender is best off elsewhere and willing to part ways permanently
The left-back was signed from Benfica for a fee of around £7million in the summer of 2021, but has failed to make the grade at the Emirates. He spent last season on loan with Ligue 1 outfit Marseille, meaning as things stand his only campaign actually spent at his parent club was the 2021/22 edition.
That was littered with more lows than highs for Tavares, who was hooked either before or during half-time on two separate occasions within the space of four months. On one of those occasions, the defender was withdrawn after just 34 minutes during an FA Cup defeat away at Forest.
Tavares did little to hide how furious with Arteta’s decision, throwing his gloves to the ground and facing ridicule from the same Forest faithful he now lines up in front of. The Arsenal boss was reluctant to add more fuel to the fire in the immediate aftermath.
“I just did it to try to improve the performance of the team,” said the Spaniard. Tavares was the subject of “you’re going to cry in a minute” chants from the home fans, but Arteta showed little sympathy when asked if he was aware of the headlines the substitution would create.
“I understand that but I have to make the decision to try to improve the performance of the team when it’s not going in any other direction,” he added. Arteta was reluctant to offer up an explanation as to why Tavares was taken off, inisting that he doesn’t “want to talk about any individuals.”
Tavares clearly is not one to shy away from showing exactly how he feels. Last season, he spent the entire campaign on loan at Marseille, who are the suitors believed to be chasing his signature on a permanent deal currently, but if the defender had gotten his way he may have joined them last summer.
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The ex-Benfica ace voiced his frustration over the fact that Arsenal were reluctant to include an option to buy clause in his Marseille deal last season. He told RMC Sport back in October of 2022: “At Arsenal, I do not know if it was a problem of competition with Kieran Tierney, but for me, that’s not even the point.
“I came to Marseille to finally be able to play in my position. When signing with OM, I wanted to have an option to buy, but Arsenal refused.
“With my agents, we always wanted this purchase option, but Arsenal didn’t. Now I’m at OM, and with or without an option, I’m happy. At Arsenal, I would have probably only played in the cup.”
He has made just four starts for Forest since joining on loan in the summer and any deal this month is complicated by the fact there is no recall clause in his current contract. However, Tavares must have made quite the impression on those running things at Marseille given their desire to pry him away from Arsenal once again, and this time for good.