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Arteta speaks to Tavares on phone as Saliba’s latest confirmed

It is set to be a summer of both key incomings and notable departures for Arsenal, who will look to confirm their first signing of the window in the coming days in the form of 21-year-old full-back Nuno Tavares.


Currently of Benfica, the Portuguese defender has been enticed to the Emirates to play the role of Kieran Tierney’s backup for the immediate future and can expect the majority of his game time next season to come in domestic cup competitions.

Though the deal is yet to be officially completed, Portuguese outlet A Bola have claimed that Gunners boss Mikel Arteta phoned Tavares to welcome him to the club.


Arsenal were forced to fend off interest from the likes of Premier League rivals Southampton, Brighton and Newcastle United to secure the U-21 international star, who is likely to set the North London outfit back around £9m.

Tavares is thought to have bid farewell to his Benfica teammates on Wednesday before completing his Arsenal medical in Lisbon.

Despite starting just seven Primeira Liga games last season, Tavares has been deemed more than capable of filling in for the injury prone Tierney with a view to challenging the Scotsman for a first team role on a regular basis.


While the Emirates faithful can begin to get excited over one talented youth prospect, another looks destined to be sent on loan for the third successive season in William Saliba.

The 20-year-old central defender cost the Gunners £27m in the summer of 2019, but is yet to make a competitive appearance for the club and is now reportedly Marseille-bound for the 2021/22 campaign at least.


Initially sent back to boyhood club Saint-Etienne in 2019, injuries thwarted the kind of progress Arsenal had hoped Saliba would make, before Arteta omitted him from his Premier League and Europa League squads at the start of last campaign.

The Arsenal boss explained his reasoning, revealing: “I explained that he needed that transition year when we decided to buy him and send him on loan to Saint-Etienne.

“For many reasons, that didn’t happen – he didn’t have that transition year and he needs to go through that.


“At the moment, with the amount of central defenders we have in the team, we had to leave him out of the squad, which is painful. Now we have some injuries and we could have used him but this is part of the profession.”

Saliba spent the latter half of last season impressing on loan at Nice, earning plenty of plaudits in his home country of France.

Arteta revealed that the pair would hold talks over the defender’s future, which appear to have resulted in the agreement of a third loan spell, returning to Ligue 1 but this time with Marseille.

Saliba had harboured aspirations of fighting for his place with the Gunners, but with the imminent signing of Ben White to Arsenal that now appears even more unlikely.

The Frenchman has not kept quiet over his views on the situation, revealing earlier this year “I arrived there as they were finishing the league season, so I was training alone.

“As soon as they came back from holidays, we quickly had the first friendly matches where I lacked rhythm and was a bit insufficient physically.

“The coach immediately told me that I was not ready. I would have at least liked to have a chance to rediscover my rhythm. But this is football, it’s like that.”

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