Arsenal sign Nuno Tavares from Benfica in £8m deal
Lokonga signing also close after Gunners agree initial £15m deal with Anderlecht
10 July, 2021 — By Steve Barnett
ARSENAL have finally kicked off their summer spending by signing Nuno Tavares from Benfica in a deal worth up to £8million.
The 21-year-old left-back was being chased by a number of clubs. But Tavares revealed he opted for north London after Gunners boss Mikel Arteta and the club’s technical director Edu made him feel “wanted” by regularly speaking to him over the phone.
“When I finished the season my agent told me that Arsenal were interested in me,” Tavares told the club’s official website.
“In the first instance I was very happy and after this I dreamed about it, and [spoke about it] with my mum. I was so excited, and now I’m here I’m so happy.
“I’m so excited because it is a big club and for me as a young guy, it is a pleasure to be here.”
Tavares, who will wear the number 20 shirt, added: “Mikel [Arteta] and Edu helped me so much. They speak with me every time, and call me, and I feel people want me here. I like that because I need this power and I’m so grateful for this.”
Tavares came through the Benfica youth system and made 25 appearances for the club since making his first-team debut in the Portuguese Super Cup win over Sporting Lisbon in August 2019.
Having signed a “long-term” contract with the Gunners, thought to be a five-year deal, the Portugal Under-21 defender will now join up with his new team-mates for pre-season, which kicks off against Hibernian on Tuesday.
Arteta said: “We welcome Nuno to the club. He is a young player with great promise who has developed very well with Benfica in recent seasons and has also shown his quality by being part of Portugal U21s.
“Nuno’s arrival will give the squad extra strength and options in defence, particularly with this energy on the left side of the pitch.”
Tavares’s arrival is due to be followed by that of the midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht. Arsenal have agreed to pay £15m plus add-ons that could take the fee for the Belgian to about £18m.