Arsenal are bracing themselves for a bid for Manchester City for one of their stars of the season, according to reports.
Nuno Tavares – a summer acquistion from Benfica – is being linked to the Premier League champions, with Pep Guardiola apparently keen to add a more natural full-back to a squad that currently only boasts two options in the position.
Guardiola's first-choice on the left of his back four is the right-footed Joao Cancelo, with Oleksandr Zinchenko – a converted attacking midfielder – as his back-up. Benjamin Mendy is currently suspended by the club.
Tavares, meanwhile, has shot to prominence this season as a back-up to Kieran Tierney, even keeping the Scot out of the line-up on occasion, too.
Tavares was brought in over the summer for under £10m, with Mikel Arteta praising his scouting team for their work covering the 21-year-old. Though he struggled at times to break into Benfica's first team, he has acted as an able squad player for Arsenal and flourished as an attack-minded full-back, providing width and good quality crosses.
The Gunners would probably resist selling the player – not least because he's only been in north London a matter of months – but City could be prepared to pay a fair amount of money.
Since Guardiola arrived in the Rainy City, the Etihad outfit have spent considerable amounts on full-backs, paying over £25m for Danilo, around £50m each for Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy and about £60m for Joao Cancelo. While COVID-19 has reduced such exorbitant fees, Arsenal would surely demand at least triple what they paid for Tavares.
With poor relations between both clubs, too, the north Londoners would dig their heels in, too. While Arteta and Guardiola are close, the City manager has criticised Arsenal in the past as a club, saying "I have all the respect for what Arsenal are on the pitch, not much off the pitch".
According to the Telegraph, Arsenal were "prime movers" behind a joint-letter, which eight Premier League clubs signed and sent to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2020, asking for the Manchester club's two-year Champions League ban to be upheld. The ban was eventually lifted.
Tavares is valued at around £6m on Transfermarkt.
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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. Over his time on the brand, he has interviewed the likes of Aaron Ramsdale and Jack Wilshere, written pieces ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career, and has been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals, working for FFT.
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