‘We wanted strength and special qualities’ – Arteta on why Arsenal signed Tavares

Written By Shina Oludare
Nuno Tavares Benfica 2019

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta claimed the Gunners’ desire to have ‘more strength’ and ‘specific qualities’ informed the decision to sign Nuno Tavares.

A graduate of Benfica’s youth setup, the 21-year-old signed a five-year deal for £7m ($9.7m) to become the North Londoners’ first signing of the summer.

Although he is expected to act as a backup to first-choice left-back Kieran Tierney, Tavares is already turning heads at the Emirates Stadium after scoring the club’s equaliser in Sunday’s pre-season game against Rangers.

“We wanted to have more strength and specific qualities in the left-back position, and we identified Nuno a while ago,” Arteta told Arsenal Media.

“To be fair to the scouting department, they have done brilliantly to identify a talent with the qualities that we required, at the age we required and financially it was something we can afford.

“The boy has already been pretty impressive. I think he is the right profile for what we are trying to build here.”

When asked if the fans would be expecting to see more signings like the Cape Verde prospect and Albert Lokonga, the Spaniard responded: “It is one of the profiles, but we need a good mixture as well.

“We need some senior players, players with different types of leadership in the team, with different qualities, people that complement each other.

“At the end of the day, it is about the cohesion of the team so we need a squad that is cohesive that can develop and adapt, that offers different qualities to change games, protect games when we need to and this is what we are trying to build.”

Tavares broke into the A team of the Portuguese elite division side at the beginning of the 2019-20 campaign. In his maiden season, he made 41 senior appearances in all competitions, scoring once and providing seven assists.

Last term, he featured in 14 league games as the Estadio da Luz finished third in the Primeira Liga after amassing 76 points from 34 matches.

Despite representing Portugal at U18, U19 and U21 levels, he is eligible to feature for Cape Verde.

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