Nuno Tavares has joined French side Marseille on a season long loan deal. The Portuguese fullback has been attracting a lot of interest from clubs around Europe this season, including Napoli and Leicester City, however, the Ligue 1 side have won the race.
It was initially thought that Tavares would be joining Serie A side Atlanta, who were keen to either purchase the player outright or to include a purchase option or obligation in an initial loan deal, none of which were attractive to Arsenal.
After weeks of negotiation with the club, eventually, Atalanta pulled out of any potential deal, paving the way for Marseille to make their move. Tavares will join former Arsenal players Mattéo Guendouzi and Sead Kolašinac.
Marseille were also keen on bringing back William Saliba on loan for another campaign after a successful loan spell last season, but this was also flatly rejected by Mikel Arteta and Edu.
Tavares’ loan will give the young fullback the chance to develop further with consistent game time. The arrival of Oleksandr Zinchenko and the somewhat settled nature of Kieran Tierney, means that Tavares will be restricted in terms of game time this season.
It’s fair to say that Tavares’ first season at Arsenal was a mixed bag. While he undoubtedly impressed in his initial few months with the club, he soon began to see a dip in form, culminating in a first-half substitution in the team’s disastrous 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup.
Tavares still showed glimpses of his true potential, notching a goal against Manchester United in the team’s 3-1 win in April.
The former-Benfica defender’s physical profile, not to mention his stamina, strength and pace has made him a hugely attractive proposition to most clubs and it’s thought that a season in France and regular game time may go some way to eradicating the flashes of erraticism from his game.
There was talk of Arsenal holding out for a fee of around €40m (£33.5m), a nearly £27m profit on their initial £6.7m signing, however, there is a feeling among many in the game that Arsenal may have been potentially pushing their luck with such a high figure.
It’s been a summer of upheaval for Marseille, having appointed Igor Tudor to replace the outgoing Jorge Sampaoli, who left after doubts over the club’s transfer policies.