Atalanta director Lee Congerton has confirmed he’s been following Arsenal’s Nuno Tavares for a long time, but Marseille are now leading the race.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Nuno Tavares of Arsenal controls the ball during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on September 26, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Nuno Tavares of Arsenal controls the ball during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on September 26, 2021. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Following reports linking Nuno Tavares with interest from Atalanta in recent days, the club’s director Lee Congerton has spoken out on the possibility of a transfer.

“I’ve followed Tavares since he was playing for Benfica’s youth team, he’s a strong player,” Congerton said. “But Tavares is under contract with Arsenal – and it’s really difficult to sign players from Premier League clubs.”

Di Marzio reported that Atalanta had set their sights on Nuno Tavares of Arsenal this summer.

But Arsenal were asking for either a straight loan with no option to buy, or an obligation to buy at €40m (£34m).

That’s opened the door to Marseille, with David Ornstein reporting that the French club want a loan and Arsenal will consider sanctioning it as long as they can recruit a player in that area – likely Lisandro Martinez.

Arsenal only brought Tavares to the club last summer, signing him from Benfica for around £7m.

After 28 appearances this season, and given he’s on a long-term contract, the Gunners clearly feel his value has significantly increased.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07: Nuno Tavares of Arsenal in action during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Watford at Emirates Stadium on November 07, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Nuno Tavares of Arsenal in action during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Watford at Emirates Stadium on November 07, 2021. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

For the time being, that makes an Atalanta move appear unlikely, but there’s a long way to go this summer.

Arsenal have been increasingly linked with a move for Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez, who can cover at left-back and centre-back.

Tavares’ departure could see that move become even more likely, or alternatively, Martinez’s signing could see Tavares edge closer to a Marseille exit.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.