The former Benfica fullback had a hard time in his first season at Arsenal, so he was sent on loan to Ligue 1 team Marseille for the rest of the season.
Nuno Tavares’ recent comments about his loan move from Arsenal to Marseille show that the young fullback didn’t listen to what Gunners manager Mikel Arteta told him.
The former Benfica defender was bought for £7 million last summer, which was a low-risk transfer fee, and he did well in his first few months at the Emirates. At one point, Tavares kept Arsenal’s first-choice left back, Kieran Tierney, out of the first team as the busy holiday schedule was coming up.
Things changed after Christmas, though, and 30 minutes into Arsenal’s FA Cup loss to then-Premier League side Nottingham Forest in the third round, Tavares was taken off. This was likely the lowest point of his career.
Four months later, 45 minutes into a 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace, Tavares was taken out of the game again. This time, he was the one who felt bad about it. At that point, it was clear that the 22-year-old would benefit from a loan to another team, which is exactly what he got this summer when he moved to Ligue 1 team Marseille for a short time.
The defender followed in the footsteps of current Arsenal fan favorite William Saliba, who spent last season at the Stade Velodrome and seems to have gotten a lot out of it based on how well he has played since coming back.
Since that’s the case, it’s a bit surprising that Tavares has since said he wanted an option to make his move to France permanent instead of just a loan contract.
“At Arsenal, I don’t know if Kieran Tierney was a problem because he was in competition with me, but that’s not even the point,” Tavares told RMC Sport in France.
“I moved to Marseille so that I could finally play my position. I wanted an option to buy when I signed with OM, but Arsenal said no. My agents and I have always wanted this option to buy, but Arsenal has never wanted it.
“Now that I’m at OM, I’m happy with or without a choice. I would have probably only played in the cup for Arsenal. I went to Marseille so I could play in my position in the Champions League, the league, and the cup. This chance came to me in Marseille.”
Tavares has shown that he didn’t want to fight with Tierney and summer signing Oleksandr Zinchenko for playing time at a crucial time in his career development. If Arteta’s comments from April are any indication, this probably upset him.
The Spaniard told Tavares to “embrace” the challenge of getting rid of Tierney. “You have to go through some really hard times in your career,” Arteta said. “When he first got to the club, he did some really good things and played a lot more than he probably expected.”
Arteta went on to say that Tavares could actually get better if he had to compete for his spot at Arsenal.
“He needs to get into a rhythm, compete, and get along with his teammates. We have to help him do this, but during a game, you have to decide if something can be changed to make things better.