Southampton look set to miss out on Benfica’s Nuno Tavares this summer as he edges closer to a move to Arsenal, which will surely frustrate Saints fans and Ralph Hasenhuttl.
The south coast club have been regularly linked with the full-back in recent months but he looks set for a switch to the Emirates Stadium, as Italian football journalist Fabrizio Romano confirmed on Twitter: “Arsenal have an agreement signed with Benfica for Nuno Tavares since yesterday. Done deal, no doubt. Fee will be €8m, plus add ons. Nuno will sign until June 2026.”
Although Southampton look set to complete the signing of Brest left-back Romain Perraud in the coming days, they are still quite low on full-back options following the departure of Ryan Bertrand, especially with Jake Vokins expected to go out on loan again in the 2021/22 campaign.
Therefore, Tavares could have been an excellent young back-up to Perraud in Hasenhuttl’s side next season and helped to strengthen the Saints in an area where they are particularly weak, as was emphasised last season when they struggled immensely in the absence of first team full-backs Bertrand and Kyle Walker-Peters.
The 21-year-old defender has featured as a left-back, left midfielder and right-back during his time with Benfica, so his versatility could have been a welcome addition at St Mary’s this summer.
The fee which Romano has quoted for Tavares would also have suited Southampton, as Hasenhuttl confirmed that they will target players for £10m or less this summer, so the Portuguese defender could have been an ideal option for the future at the south coast club.
The Benfica man, who is currently valued at £6.3m by Transfermarkt, was touted as one of the brightest prospects in world football by his agent Cesar Boaventura, who suggested that he had the ability to play for any club in Europe after links with Manchester United emerged.
Therefore, if Tavares can realise his potential with Arsenal, then Southampton will surely regret not acting more decisively to sign him this summer. It is also undoubtedly a blow for Hasenhuttl, who must now look elsewhere for a full-back to compete with Perraud and Walker-Peters in his side next season.
In other news… Southampton are keen on this Champions League regular