By Noel Whelan

19th May, 2022 | 7:00am

Nuno Tavares set for Arsenal axe as £13m link emerges - pundit

Noel Whelan has claimed Nuno Tavares could find himself on the scrapheap at Arsenal this summer as they target a move for Bologna left-back Aaron Hickey.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, urged Mikel Arteta to bring in “huge depth” ahead of a return to European football and drew comparisons between the Gunners and Liverpool.

According to The Times (16 May), Arsenal, Napoli, and Newcastle are fighting to sign Hickey, 19, this summer – with Brentford currently in pole position to seal a deal.

The report claims a fee of £13million would be enough to sign the Scotland international, who has notched five goals and one assist in 35 Serie A games this term.

Meanwhile, Tavares has struggled to adapt to the English game since joining Arsenal last summer (2021).

The 22-year-old has made just 12 league starts despite a long-term injury to Kieran Tierney.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

Whelan insisted signing Hickey would be a “clever” move as Arsenal search for more dependable depth.

“They’re trying to cover a lot of bases, and having that huge depth certainly seems to work for Liverpool,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

“If you’re playing European football and going deep in a lot of competitions, as Arsenal will hope to do – you need a big squad.

“You’re going to have to chop and change players and rotate.

“We’ve seen how much they’ve struggled in these full-back positions this season. Tomiyasu and Tierney have been injured a lot – and Tavares just isn’t good enough.

“I think it’s a clever idea to get a top-rated youngster in.

It’s another piece of the puzzle for Arteta and Arsenal.”

In other news, pundit tips Arsenal to repeat Gabriel Martinelli trick as new signing bagged.