Arsenal have signed Portugal U21 defender Nuno Tavares from Benfica.
Arsenal have announced the transfer of Nuno Tavares from Benfica on a long-term contract. The 21-year-old defender developed through the Benfica youth system. He made his Benfica B debut in October 2018, before progressing into the first-team squad. The footballer further made his first-team debut in the Portuguese Super Cup win over Sporting Lisbon in August 2019. The Portugal U-21 international is predominantly a left-sided defender, making 25 appearances over the past two seasons. Tavares was interestingly a part of the matchday squad for both matches played against Arsenal in last season’s Europa League last-32.
Manager Mikel Arteta welcomed Nuno, terming him as a young player with great promise.
“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 Under-21s. Nuno’s arrival will give the squad extra strength and options in defence, particularly with this energy on the left side of the pitch. We look forward to Nuno’s arrival soon, his integration into the Arsenal family and playing in front of our fantastic supporters,” he said as quoted by Arsenal’s official website.
The young defender will join his new teammates in the coming days, after traveling from Portugal and completing isolation regulations for international arrivals into the UK. He will wear the number 20 shirt.
Nuno expressed his thoughts following the transfer, terming it a pleasure to be at the club.
“Thank you. I’m so excited because it is a big club and for me as a young guy, it is a pleasure to be here. It’s good for my career and to begin at Arsenal is a big club, and I’m very happy. When I finished the season my agent told me that Arsenal were interested in me. 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 to be here, and now I’m here I’m so happy. No, 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,” he said.
“Mikel 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. It’s because you have a good project. Young people, it’s good for me and we learn together, because we can understand together and we can have an evolution together with the young guys. It’s the same. It’s a good project with young guys and we understand each other,” added Nuno.
“In the present I like [Emile Smith Rowe], because he is my generation. He’s played against us, on the same side – he played on the right, I played on the left – for the selection (youth) team. He’s a good player, and I see Saka too. Young players, good players. And from the past I like Henry. A very good player, and it’s good for me to remember that story. 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,” concluded the footballer.