Arsenal: First fixtures of 2021/22 Premier League season
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Arsenal have stepped up their interest in Benfica defender Nuno Tavares by making contact with his representatives over the possibility of a move, according to reports. Club director Edu looks set to lead a summer of change at the Emirates Stadium, with Mikel Arteta in desperate need of reinforcements to stand any chance of building on last season’s disappointment.
The Gunners slumped to an eighth-placed finish in the Premier League table, missing out on European qualification for the first time in over 25 years.
Arteta’s side also failed to win a trophy after crashing out of both domestic cups and the Europa League, with their season ultimately defined by a lack of quality and consistency over the course of the campaign.
It seems as though a number of signings will need to arrive this summer in order to spark an upturn in fortunes, with Arsenal’s defensive ranks believed to be one of the areas under scrutiny.
The likes of Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasniac and William Saliba appear to be facing uncertain futures, while David Luiz has already left the club after the conclusion of his previous contract.
The full-back positions are likely to be addressed this summer, with Arteta reportedly looking to improve in the wide areas as well as centrally.
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Although Kieran Tierney recently penned a new long-term deal with the club, Arsenal are on the hunt for a viable backup option on the left and have reached out to the agents of Tavares as they weigh up a move for the Benfica man, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.
It is claimed that the Gunners are ‘in direct contact’ with the 21-year-old’s camp in order to establish the likelihood of a summer switch.
Tavares himself would reportedly be keen on joining Arsenal as he looks to fulfil his dream of playing Premier League football.
As a result, his personal terms are not expected to pose an issue during negotiations, which suggests that his services could be within reach for the north London club.
However, Edu will need to fight off competition from the likes of Napoli and Lazio in order to seal Tavares’ signature this summer, with the player’s stance on a move potentially spelling good news.
He featured in a bit-part role for Benfica last season, claiming three assists from 25 appearances in all competitions, and would likely do a similar job with Arsenal as Tierney’s understudy.
It is said that Benfica are willing to accept a fee of around £14.5million for Tavares but it remains to be seen whether the Gunners will eventually firm up their interest with an official bid.
Arsenal are believed to be targeting plenty of reinforcements in a variety of different positions this summer, with Arteta previously suggesting that large-scale changes could soon be on the horizon.
“We don’t know yet because we have so many things to do,” the Spaniard told reporters when quizzed on his transfer plans earlier this year.
“We have people on loan, people finishing contracts. There has been a lot going on in the last two transfer windows, the amount of things that had to be done was probably unprecedented and it will be again in the summer.
“We are trying to put a plan together to see the resources that we have, how much we want to improve, how we’re going to do it and at what cost. There are so many factors, it’s not just about one thing or an [financial] amount.
“It’s about the project and, timewise, how to build it is going to take some effort from everybody and we know that. The challenging moments that we are facing at the moment is making it even harder.”
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