Arsenal left-back Nuno Tavares has admitted that he wanted an option to buy clause included in his loan deal with Ligue 1 outfit Marseille.
Following the arrival of Oleksandr Zinchenko to the Emirates Stadium, Tavares fell to third in the pecking order behind the Ukraine international and Kieran Tierney.
Atalanta BC and Real Sociedad were among the clubs credited with an interest in the Portugal Under-21 international, but he eventually joined Marseille on a season-long loan.
Tavares has made a stellar start to life at the Orange Velodrome under Igor Tudor, starting five Ligue 1 games at left-wing back and scoring three goals for his new club.
As things stand, the 22-year-old will be returning to Arsenal for the 2023-24 season, as the North London club were not willing to include an option or obligation to buy in his Marseille loan.
Arsenal supposedly still believe that Tavares will blossom into an important player for them in the future, but the ex-Benfica man has surprisingly admitted that he would have jumped at the chance to join Marseille permanently.
“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 explained to French outlet RMC Sport, as quoted by the Evening Standard.
“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 [FA Cup and EFL 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.”
Tavares only joined Arsenal from Benfica in the summer of 2021 and remains under contract at the Emirates for another three years, but he endured mixed fortunes in his debut season in the Premier League.
The youngster came up with one goal and two assists from 28 appearances in all competitions, and he started 13 Premier League games amid Tierney’s injury problems.
Tavares showed flashes of brilliance on the attacking front and scored his first goal for the club against Manchester United, but he was substituted early on more than one occasion following error-strewn defensive displays.
Former Manchester City left-back Zinchenko quickly ousted Tierney from the side earlier this summer, but the 25-year-old has missed the Gunners’ last two matches with a knee injury.
However, Zinchenko – along with Aaron Ramsdale and Martin Odegaard – was pictured arriving at the Arsenal team hotel in a triple injury boost for his side ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Manchester United.