Arsenal open talks with Benfica over left-back Nuno Tavares

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Arsenal are the latest side to express an interest in 21-year-old Benfica left-back Nuno Tavares, who is also wanted by Napoli and Lazio.

The Gunners have tied first-choice option Kieran Tierney down to a new contract until 2026 but are keen to find some competition for him in the transfer market this summer, having allowed their only other left-back, Sead Kolasinac, to leave the club in January,

Nuno TavaresNuno Tavares

Talks have been held with Tavares’ agent / Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Former Southampton man Ryan Bertrand was heavily linked with a move to the Emirates, but according to Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal could choose to make a splash on a new left-back and are in talks with the agents of Benfica starlet Tavares.

The 21-year-old made his breakthrough in the 2019/20 season and ended that campaign as the team’s regular starter, only to see his minutes limited last year.

Tavares is believed to be desperate to join Arsenal and fulfil his dream of playing in the Premier League, but one major stumbling block is that Benfica are in no rush to sell their young talent and are ready to demand a fee of around £15m.

That’s a significant fee for a player who is likely to spend most of his time on the bench anyway, and with Arsenal planning so many signings this summer, they may not be able to free up the £15m needed to bring Tavares to the Emirates.

Tavares is prepared to give Arsenal time to consider a move and he will ignore all interest from Napoli and Lazio until he learns of the Gunners’ true intentions, and that same stance has been taken by Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga.

Arsenal have failed with a £13m bid for Lokonga, who is expected to cost closer to the £20m mark. That money could be raised with the sale of Granit Xhaka to Roma, with that deal inching ever closer to completion.

The team’s biggest splash of the summer is expected to come at centre-back, where Arsenal are close to striking a £50m deal to bring in Brighton youngster Ben White.

With so much other business to attend to – a new goalkeeper, right-back and creative midfielder are all on the shopping list as well – finding £15m to spend on a backup left-back may end up being impossible.

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