Arsenal man ‘annoys’ Mikel Arteta – player’s ‘behaviour’ tempted club to sanction summer transfer
Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta was reportedly ‘often annoyed’ with Nuno Tavares prior to the defender’s move to Ligue 1 side Marseille last year.
The defender joined Arsenal ahead of the 2021/22 campaign for around £8m from Benfica. He ended up playing consistently for the Londoners during his debut season due to Kieran Tierney’s injury woes.
Tavares’ prominent role arguably came too soon as he struggled for the Gunners. Arsenal pushed for a spot in the top four last season but they missed out following losses to Tottenham and Newcastle during the run-in.
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher subsequently suggested that Arsenal would have qualified for the Champions League “if they had a better left-back”.
“I think if they had a better left-back, then you probably would be in the top four now,” Carragher claimed.
“I don’t like singling one player out, but I just think he cost you in certain games.
“I remember that game at Crystal Palace last season, it was on Monday Night Football and I said on TV: ‘He has to come off at half-time’. I think he [Mikel Arteta] put Granit Xhaka at left-back in the end.”
Arsenal did strengthen in that area in the summer as they signed Oleksandr Zinchenko from Man City. This is while Tavares headed to Marseille on loan.
Tavares has played further forward as a wing-back for the Ligue 1 side. He impressed during the opening months of the campaign and he’s scored six goals in 28 games.
But he was slammed over the weekend as Marseille were beaten 3-0 at home by PSG. This was not entirely his fault, as head coach Igor Tudor boldly opted to use him as a right wing-back.
In hindsight, this was not the best idea. Now L’Equipe (via Sport Witness) are reporting that Tavares ‘seemed lost’ at times against PSG.
The defender is said to have a ‘reputation of inconsistency’ and his ‘behaviour’ at Arsenal ‘often annoyed’ Arteta and his coaching staff. It is indicated that this is why he let Tavares go out on loan.
Tavares is likely to return to Arsenal this summer as his loan move to Marseille does not include a buy option. Speaking back in September, he admitted that he “wanted” there to be a purchase option as part of the deal.
“At Arsenal, I do not know if it was a problem of competition with Kieran Tierney, but for me, that’s not even the point,” Tavares said.
“I came to Marseille to finally be able to play in my position. When signing with OM, I wanted to have an option to buy, but Arsenal refused. With my agents, we always wanted this purchase option, but Arsenal didn’t.
“Now I’m at OM, and with or without an option, I’m happy. At Arsenal, I would have probably only played in the cup.
“I came to Marseille to play in my position, in the Champions League, in the league and in the cup [competition]. Marseille gave me this opportunity.”
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