The left-back played far more than many expected he would last term thanks to persistent injuries to first-choice Kieran Tierney. In some of those games, particularly towards the end of the season, Tavares undeniably struggled to hit the required standard and appeared to lose the faith of manager Mikel Arteta.
It was a turbulent debut campaign for the young Portugal Under-21 international who suffered two humiliating substitutions inside the opening 45 minutes of games. The first came less than 40 minutes into a third-round FA Cup tie away at Nottingham Forest.
After failing to follow his instructions, Arteta made the decision to haul Tavares off in place of Tierney. The substitution prompted an angry reaction from the young defender, who threw his gloves to the floor in anger as he made his way to his seat on the bench.
Following that public outburst, Arteta was quick to insist he was only acting in Tavares’ best interests. “It is not pleasant to make those decisions, it leaves a bad taste but at the same time we are here to help our players and to help our players you have to do it in many different ways,” the Arsenal boss explained.
“I have been substituted after 45 minutes and I have been upset, but it is part of a process and a development phase in any career and it’s part of the experiences and some experiences, unfortunately, aren’t pleasant but most of those, if you take in the right way, they are the ones that help you to progress and become a better person or player.”
Whether Tavares entirely took the whole sorry saga on board is unclear, as he was put in a similar position just months later. After two errors that lead to goals away at Crystal Palace, Tavares did not emerge for the second-half at Selhurst Park.
His inability to learn from the game at Forest may have led to a change in his immediate future, as Arsenal weigh up offers for Tavares from teams abroad.
Both Ligue 1 outfit Marseille and Serie A side Atalanta are keen on taking Tavares off Arteta’s hands next term. Lions de l’Atlas report that it was Marseille who reached out for the £7.2million man first.
Given the previous Gunners stars who have played on loan at the Stade Veledrome, the relationship between the two clubs is clearly strong. Matteo Guendouzi and William Saliba have both joined Marseille on loan from Arsenal, while the former looks set to stay there permanently.
The French side could provide Tavares with the perfect foundation to revive his reputation and return to Arsenal a more well-rounded player.