William Saliba, Matteo Guendouzi, Marseille

Preview: 'Saliba, Guendouzi influenced OM move' says Nuno Tavares

Preview: 'Saliba, Guendouzi influenced OM move' says Nuno Tavares

Publish on 08/04 at 21:11 - I. HOLYMAN


Nuno Tavares was influenced by William Saliba and Matteo Guendouzi's success at Olympique de Marseille to decide on a season-long loan move from Arsenal to the Ligue 1 Uber Eats side.



Saliba and Guendouzi spent the 2021/22 season on loan from Arsenal at the Orange Vélodrome where the centre-back and midfielder were key figures in OM's runners-up finish  in Ligue 1 Uber Eats, earning themselves senior international recognition with France. 


While Guendouzi made his move permanent this summer, Saliba has since returned to the English Premier League club, but clearly had good memories of his time in Marseille as he helped convince Tavares he should gain top-grade playing time and UEFA Champions League experience in France.


"I saw what they did in Marseille, especially Saliba, who I saw when he returned to Arsenal after a very good season. Guendouzi was also fantastic. I'm going to try and do the same or even better to help the team as best I can to fulfil its goals," said the Portuguese U21 left-back, who made 28 competitive appearances for the Gunners in the 2021/22 season, his first campaign in England.


"For me, the answer to come here was quick. Perhaps there were a few things that needed ironing out between the two clubs. I agreed to it immediately. Of course I saw that the team was playing in the Champions League. I saw their great last season and that they'd finished runners-up. For me, I took the decision quite quickly."



The ex-Benfica full-back is expected to make his competitive debut for OM against Reims on Sunday (kick-off 8:45pm CEST) when new coach Igor Tudor will expect him to provide down the left flank what another new signing, Jonathan Clauss, will contribute on the right: forward impetus.


"The first day I arrived, the coach showed me a picture with lines on the pitch. He told me, 'You have to go between this line and the other, and you run as a full-back but also as a winger.' He assured me I could do it. He knows full well that I'll need to get up to speed a little, but I also think I can do it," explained the 22-year-old. 


"It's true that it's different to what I did at Arsenal where we played with four at the back. But I like playing with three centre-backs and two wing-backs who are more like wingers. With a little more training in my legs, I'll be able to get up and down as Igor Tudor is asking. I'm happy to play in that position and I want to learn a bit more."


Another new face, goalkeeper Ruben Blanco, could start with Pau Lopez nursing a groin injury. Midfielder Pape Gueye is suspended after accumlating too many yellow cards late last season, but the freshly arrived Isaak Touré — sent off in Sunday's 2-0 pre-season friendly defeat to AC Milan — could be available due to administrative delays.


Reims, who secured a point on their trip to Marseille last season, are without a host of injured players — Jens Cajuste, Thomas Foket, Nathanaël Mbuku and new signing Junya Ito — as they kick off their campaign.


Probable teams

Marseille: to follow


Reims: to follow


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