Arsenal’s left sides are decidedly popular in the Canebière. After luring Sead Kolašinac to the Orange Velodrome for free last January, Olympique de Marseille have just received a new left-back from the Gunners in Nuno Tavares, on loan without an option to buy. The 22-year-old Portuguese international Espoirs (8 games, 1 goal), loaned to London in the summer of 2021 for 8 million euros after just 41 professional games with Benfica, is coming off a difficult first season in England, where he delivered interesting and encouraging performances (1 goal and 2 assists in 28 games in total), but also showed a lot of irregularity and fever.
Great offensive assets ideal for a piston
Nuno Tavares has everything that is nowadays called a “modern full-back”, that is, an element that is more comfortable from an offensive point of view than a defensive one. Fairly strong and physically powerful (1.84m), with perhaps slightly above average muscle mass, the Lisbon native has great athletic qualities. Test that stands out more offensively, its main strengths are speed and percussion, with an interesting ability to accelerate. His offloads and doubling are precious assets that Igor Tudor and his men have every reason to rely on, even if he can still gain consistency in his crosses. In any case, he should enjoy the piston role that the Croatian coach probably reserves for him.
Having logically started the 2021-2022 season on the bench at the Emirates Stadium, with Kieran Tierney undisputed in the left lane, Nuno Tavares was thrust onto the pitch fairly early into the starting role in that position when the Scot was injured. in October First very generous, as always, and applied to the field, the Lusitanian chained the good performances in the Premier League, then confirming a very interesting margin of progress. Before you start to slow down and worry a lot more about the Gunners.
Defensive qualities less obvious, a mind still a bit fragile
English fans could see that Nuno Tavares, who returned to the bench until the end of the season and Tierney’s new injury, had a lot of work to do in different aspects. Defensive first. If he remains reliable on the run and is never completely overwhelmed in this small game, the one who wears the number 20 at Arsenal, however, finds it more difficult in the placement. His positioning can sometimes leave something to be desired, and reminds us that this young player must progress in continuous concentration for 90 minutes. This mental aspect can also explain his sometimes excessive and even dangerous losses of the ball, as in the defeat against Liverpool (0-4, November 20, 2021).
Here again, Nuno Tavares will have to step up his ability to bounce back quickly when events don’t go like clockwork for him or his team, and where his youth has been felt from the point of mental sight at certain times of the year. with Mikel Arteta’s men. So much so that the manager of the Cannoniers did not hesitate to line up Granit Xhaka, but a midfielder, instead, against Brighton for example (1-2, April 9). But on the whole, the arrival of Nuno Tavares in the city of Marseille seems a fairly consistent bet, as the style of the former Benfica player seems to correspond with the principles of play of the new Olympic coach. The Arsenal man will return to north London in the summer of 2023. Until then, he intends to prove he can make it long-term in England.