Tavares excited to join Arsenal’s ‘young project’, Lokonga set to follow

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Nuno Tavares says he’s excited to join Arsenal’s youthful first team squad and is looking forward to growing as a player under Mikel Arteta.

Signed for around €8 million from Benfica, the 21-year-old left-back will initially provide back-up to Kieran Tierney with Sead Kolasinac expected to leave.

Asked about his decision to swap Lisbon for London, he told Arsenal.com (in English): “When I finished the season my agent told me that Arsenal were interested in me.

“In the first instance I was very happy and after this I dreamed about it, and [spoke about it] with my mum. I was so excited to be here, and now I’m here I’m so happy.

“It’s because you have a good project. Young people, it’s good for me and we learn together, because we can understand together and we can have an evolution together with the young guys. It’s the same. It’s a good project with young guys and we understand each other.”

Having faced Arsenal in last season’s Europa League, Tavares is no stranger to Arsenal’s squad.

Speaking about those he admires, he added: “In the present I like [Emile Smith Rowe], because he is my generation. He’s played against us, on the same side – he played on the right, I played on the left – for the selection (youth) team.

“He’s a good player, and I see Saka too. Young players, good players. And from the past I like Henry. A very good player, and it’s good for me to remember that story.”

Tavares will join pre-season in the coming days and is expected to be part of the squad that travels to Scotland for a training camp and friendlies with Hibernian and Rangers.

According to various reports, Arsenal are also edging closer to a deal with Anderlecht for midfielder Albert Lokonga.

The Gunners have been working on a deal for the Belgium international for a number of weeks and it sounds as though he’s now undertaken his medical.

Lokonga looks likely to be a replacement for Granit Xhaka who is due to move to AS Roma, assuming the Italians stop being tight arses and make a bid worth our while.

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Lorenzo

Good Luck Nuno. I wish you a wonderful time at the arsenal

StockholmGooner

Take that Wolverhampton!

Paul

I see what you did there 😉

Graeb

Ours is the best Nuno in North London.

Tapps

and, given who their coach now is, you too, Spuds!

Sean

A great signing. The previous mindset of bringing older established / very near declining players as a short term backup solution clearly wasn’t working, especially hitting our bank balance hard. Arteta has the chance to mould Tavares to how he wants him to play and he can learn a lot from our Tescobag Wielding Scottlad.

gunner17

he’ll do well

K9ine

Welcome son. Hope you give us plenty of (positive) highlights. Here is to you winning multiple MOTM awards and defensive assist king

Naked Cygan

Good to see we can buy players for the same amount we normally sell players for.

Daveo

Two good signings and the type we should be focused on. Identifying talent ourselves.

iGooner

I’m sorry but who are all these players? I wish them luck but wow how far we’ve fallen..

Drew

Who was Vieira? Who was Anelka? Arsene who? Many of the best signings this club have ever made were “who?” players.

Graeb

Pires, Edu, Gilberto, Lauren, all who too.

Samgunz

Gilberto had just won the WC, Pires too.

John

Pires was already a star in France before he came to Arsenal.

iGooner

Sure, live in the past. And that’s why we are 2 decades without the PL while chelski has 2 CL

Jalex

Eh? You’re the one who just wrote “wow haw far we’ve fallen”, literally referring back to our performance in the past!

Let’s wait to see how these players perform for us before jumping to conclusions shall we?

Goonshow

Your comment is so flawed, on numerous levels, that it doesn’t even merit any sort of reasoned response. Twaddle!

Qwaliteee

Mate, Arsenal fans don’t “live in the past.”

They’re rightly proud of the past and hopeful for the future.

You clearly have a lot to learn about what it is to be a real Gooner.

Sachin

You know who to support then! Save your next 2 decades please. Ta da

Goonshow

And some obscure left wing who couldn’t make the France team, called Thierry

Qwaliteee

He actually played for France on the wing in the ‘98 World Cup – but I get the point you’re making.

Wenger turned him from a good winger into a world class striker.

Jeremy DG

I’m not really sure what you expect considering the circumstances.

Teta's cult of personality

We’re not Real Madrid, not everyone of our signings has to be an expensive galactico. I’d much rather we went back to the early days of Wenger with low risk and high potential signings.

iGooner

And we started bashing Wenger for running project youth while most wanted big signings then.

Teta's cult of personality

That’s a fair point, I do remember the fan frustration at the time. Though a big signing can still be a young unknown player (Saliba, sort of) and a low risk signing can be an older more-established player. E.g. Cazorla, age 27, ~£64,000 p/w, £17 million. I do wonder how much of that fan frustration started as a result of media-driven narratives. As a schoolboy, I remember a lot of newspaper articles used to portray Wenger as a penny-puncher as opposed to the financially restricted coach he was. Before Özil, other clubs had made signings almost twice our transfer record.… Read more »

Goonshow

And there you are… back ‘in the past’, again.

But one could also mention: RvP; Sanchez; Ozil; Mertesacker (World Cup winner at that sage); JA Reyes; Lucas Perez and a number of others – all ‘big’ signings in the past decades.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

We all knew Freddie before he scored on his debut, didn’t we?

Kinghenrythe14th

I remember us signing a flopped French winger from Juventus who wore number 14 and “flopped” his way to beating Wrighty’s goal record.

Sorry his name eludes me…

Terry Henry something wasn’t it?

iGooner

Try telling this to kids born after the year 2000. It means Jack shit for them. Reality is we have been shit for years. Grateful for the FA cups but stop deluding yourself about our current shitty situation

Goonshow

And your suggestion is? Mine would be to stop wringing your hands and start clapping them… positivity begets positive outcomes!

Sachin

Kids born after 2000 year are such entitled prats anyway so we’ll wait for them to come back when we win something, till then this club deserves fans that have a soul (and some pubes)

karl

Signing names has got us nowhere in recent times. We need players that will develop and actually have something they want to achieve. No ageing retirement projects needed here.

Graeb

And we apparently offered £15m pa to an ageing Real Madrid CB, thank heaven he went PSG!

karl

Ignore the down thumbs. You’re right. Even if we did get one or two good years from an ageing CB, we’d still be paying huge wages with no return and looking for a new solution very soon.

Sachin

Excuse me. Ramos is the finest CB of his generation. A born leader who has won everything. He has faced great embarrassments and come out roaring in the most high pressure environment ever. Imagine Tierney/Rob/Callum/Saka/Pepe/ESR learning from him.

He’s not a good time team bonding presence like Luiz. I would pay double that amount to just have him training with our lads.

I’m kinda happy we tried for him, shows we have common sense.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Tavares is a low cost low risk #2 left-back signing. You wouldn’t want us to splash £30 million on a second choice left-back surely.

As for Lokongo I’m not convinced he’s being signed as Xhaka’s replacement for a place in the first 11, I think more likely Ceballos’ replacement as a squad signing, and we would still be in the market for another centre mid.

Sachin

Xhaka’s replacement has a name – Declan Rice

David C

It’s better to make superstars than to buy them. No established star is coming to a team with no European footie, thus we need to rebuild. Buy a couple of young studs for less than 10 million and really hope that at least half of them become regular first team starters in the future.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

Clearly know nothing about what made Arsenal great under Wenger. Sad.

iGooner

I supported Arsenal one year after Wenger became the manager. So I lived to see all 3 PLs we won under him. But tell that to kids born after 2000 and it means Jack shit for them. We’re the new Liverpool lads, deal with it. 2 decades no title soon

Teta's cult of personality

Good point. Can’t really argue there. I’m a 90s kid and even I wasn’t old enough to see a title triumph nor Henry playing live.

Like with other things in life, some generations are just luckier I guess.

Goonshow

oh Wow! So diddums has gotten a little depressed after the instant gratification of the early 2000s? Had to deal with a slow decline over 15 years, studded with some small spikes of hope?

WELCOME TO FOOTBALL!!

Having supported the Arse since 1968, I can tell you that this is most certainly not the worst of times. But if you thought it was all about Doubles and Cups and Invincibles and Championships, every other season, then perhaps shift your ‘support’ to Citeh…

You can always change again if they don’t meet your lofty expectations.

Tapps

100% this!

Sachin

If you want a title here’s one: Obnoxious

Your envy of your chelski fans means jack shit to us.

iGooner

Same old narrative. In the end it’s almost 2 decades without the PL. I’ve been on this blog long enough to know how everything will turn sour by mid season and some of these players will be bashed over time.

I would love to be proven wrong. But the reality is that we are shit. And will be shit for the next couple of seasons at least

El Mintero

We’re not shit. We’re building for the future. This is a low key signing. Nothing more nothing less. Calm down.

Tapps

Vieira was virtually unheard of, Bergkamp was floundering at Inter, Thierry was barely getting a game at Juve, Dixon had spent all of his playing career in the lower divisions, we didn’t knock any teams out of the way in getting Bouldy….. Do you want me to continue?

Torterrier

I’ve warmed to Nuno already. I am looking forward to welcoming Lokonga soon, seems like a real talent.

UzesGooner

Great prospect, especially going forward. Better option than us being Ryan Betrand’s retirement home I reckon…bring on Lokonga, White, Aouar and a CM & RB. Like Xmas atm …..

Teta's cult of personality

I feel the same way too. Please, no more retirees.

As for RB, we have four players that can play there still in the squad. So at least two will probably have to be sold before the club makes a signing. I doubt the club wants a repeat of last season’s registration fiasco.

UzesGooner

Yeah, assuming Bellerin goes, we need a number one RB with Chambers as a solid back up (White can play there too)……I’d bin Soares off if anyone would have him….time to get behind Arteta as I think things are shaping up nicely

Teta's cult of personality

While I was never in favour of Cedric’s signing (especially for 4 years), Chambers’ contract expires in 2022. Unless he renews, he will be leaving on a free if he isn’t sold.

Fatgooner

Tavares? A great signing!

🎵Heaven must be missing an angel!🎵

Get it?

(I’ll get my coat)

karl

You have to be a certain age for that one!

Fatgooner

I am!

Gunner J

What the hell is going on here? How can we resign….oh oh sorry, my bad Nuno, your squad number had me confused with someone else.

Welcome to the Arsenal!

czerwonadupa

Isn’t he a replacement for Gundouzi rather than Xhaka being in the same price bracket of £7M & €8M?

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Guendouzi and Torreira went out on loan at the start of last season and were replaced in the squad with Partey and Elneny.

Djouroureallylikeit

He is a Dani Ceballos replacement.

Awesomesauce25

I thought Lokonga was replacement for Ceballos rather than Xhaka. Wonder if he’ll be ready to step into such a vital role in the starting lineup for Arsenal on day 1. Figured he may need some time to transition and develop.

Savage

It’s great that his English is decent – will improve his integration.

Seems to have fantastic pace.

midgunner

Lokonga as a replacement for Xhaka!?

They can’t be serious. They can’t really be thinking of replacing our main midfielder, who has played almost every game with someone who is a really at this stage just a prospect.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

I would argue Partey is our main midfielder and they are looking for a suitable partner for him vice a like for like replacement for Granit.

midgunner

I can understand that argument but this lad is totally unproven at this level. It’s a huge risk in my opinion.

Xhaka no doubt has faults but he provides the team with structure. Party hopefully will come good but still has a lot to prove in terms of consistency and positioning.

The Beast

Don’t know a huge amount about him but judging from what I’ve read, he sits deep and protects the back 4/dictates play from deep. So yeah, seems more of a replacement for Xhaka than anyone else.

I’d imagine that Elneny will partner Partey to begin with until he settles in a bit. There was a lot of (justified) criticism of the lack of speed & energy in midfield last season, so I think lokonga goes some way in fixing that.

UzesGooner

He’s not replacement for Xhaka, he’s understudy to Partey/improvement on Elneny. Neves or someone else will be replacement to Xhaka…..just hope we get Aouar as No 10 (who can also play deep). I’m liking the thought process of everyone mentioned atm, with the exception of Ramsdale……

midgunner

If that’s the case I’m all for it.

I just think if Xhaka goes we’ll need to bring in someone more established, who’ll come straight into the first 11.

UzesGooner

Yep. Locatelli would be ideal, but he’s not fussed so looks like Neves. I think he’s an improvement on Xhaka and could wade in with so free kicks as well…….this could be the most dramatic summer of transfers ever (if we don’t completely f*ck it up!!) 😉

UzesGooner

….saying all that, I’d rather have Bissouma than Neves and have Aouar in front

Teta's cult of personality

So what happens to ESR in this set-up if Bissouma is partnering Partey in a double pivot and Aouar? Unless ESR is going to become a bench player, it would make more sense if Aouar is signed as Partey’s partner.

This is why I’m guessing Emile and his representatives are waiting to see what type of midfielders a new contract is signed.

MojoWillneny

Tierney-24; Ganriel-23; AMN-23; Nketiah-22; Tavares-21; Lokonga-21; Willock-21; Nelson-21; ESR-20; Martinelli-20; Balogun-20; Saliba-20; SAKA-19; Onkonkwo-19; Azeez-18; Taylor-Hart-18; Curran-18; Patino-18. Arteta and Edu are clearly building a new talented youthful core at this club, with a large group of talented young sellable assets mixed in. We’re buying some of the new talent but much of it has come from our academy. Hale End is saving this club from the doldrums. One of many problems at the club over the years was investing in “bargain” senior players while lacking the club culture and leadership to ring any real quality out of them. Last… Read more »

Rich

Replacing Xhaka’s experience with Lokonga, would be a really bold move

Expecting a 21yr old from the Belgian league to hit the ground running, and produce at a level required to get us into the top4, seems optimistic

No slight on the player who I know nothing about, but he would need to be the rare exception, rather than the general rule

Lokonga is surely a Elneny or Ceballos replacement, rather than Xhaka?

Teta's cult of personality

Yeah I think he’s more likely replacing Elneny or Ceballos.

Just looking at the U21 player transfers straight from Jupiler Pro to Premier League. He’d be among Benteke, Fellaini, Berge, Mbemba, Lukaku, Djenepo, Mitrovic and Ndidi. That’s not too bad a list by the looks of things but not top 4 as you say.

Old Highbury Corner

Good stuff! Now two new creative midfielders, someone to partner with Partey in the defensive midfielder position, a new winger, striker and a new right back. Top four finish this year, unfinished business in the Carabao Cup. Alot of dead weight to get rid of still! Not sure about his love of dogs though!!!!

Pocas Ludolski

Funny, because at the time of writing, the internet bastion of truth and impartiality (not) known as Wikipedia, categorically states that on 10th July 2021 Lokonga signed a deal to join Arsenal for €17.5 million plus add-ons.