Southampton have recently been linked with a move for Benfica full-back Nuno Tavares, and he could be a superb addition to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side ahead of next season.
According to Portuguese news outlet O Jogo (via Sport Witness), the Saints, Brighton and Newcastle are all interested in signing the 21-year-old this summer but will face competition from Serie A giants Napoli.
The report suggests that he could be available for €15m (£12.9m) this summer and, although this is slightly over the budget Hasenhuttl has set ahead of the transfer window, it would be worthwhile for a player of Tavares’ potential.
The Portuguese defender has made 41 appearances for Benfica in his senior career thus far, contributing one goal and seven assists in that time, whilst he also has some experience playing in the Europa League.
This season saw Tavares make just seven starts in the Portuguese top flight with Benfica but his performances last season, when he made 11 appearances, contributing one goal and four assists, demonstrates his obvious ability.
Back in January, football agent Cesar Boaventura claimed that Manchester United were interested in the young defender and was full of praise for him, saying: “He’s a fast player, one of the fastest players in the whole Portuguese league.
“He’s young. Maybe he’s not a player ready for a big one. But he could be in the future. Within a couple of years he can become one of the best in Europe.”
Southampton are in desperate need of a left-back ahead of next season following the news that Ryan Bertrand would leave St Mary’s on the expiry of his contract, and Tavares could prove to be his long-term replacement.
Hasenhuttl would surely appreciate a versatile player who can play as both a left-back and a right-back, and Tavares has featured on the right on six occasions in his career thus far. He could yet prove to be a back-up to Kyle Walker-Peters, which immediately marks him out as someone who the Austrian would appreciate having in his side next season, given his desire for players to adapt to a number of roles.
Therefore, Martin Semmens should definitely try and bring Tavares to St Mary’s this summer, as he could prove to be a superb addition to the Southampton squad for the future.