According to the Daily Telegraph, Arsenal are interested in signing Southampton’s Portuguese right-back Cedric Soares. The 28-year-old has just six months left on his St. Mary’s contract and has made 16 appearances in the Premier League this season.
He is a free agent at the end of the season and Southampton are fearful of losing the 28-year-old without compensation, with the report claiming that a fee lesser than £6m may be enough to persuade the sea coast club into cashing him in before the end of January.
Arsenal have struggled defensively this season as well, conceding 34 goals in 24 league games. The Gunners have shown signs of improvement under Mikel Arteta but they are yet to keep a clean sheet since the 2-0 victory over Manchester United at the Emirates on the New Year’s Eve.
A centre-back has now been signed in the form of Pablo Mari but Arteta must reinforce the full-back area too. The Spanish manager has had to deploy midfielders Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka as makeshift full-backs due to injuries to Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac.
Although Bellerin has returned from injury and the likes of Maitland-Niles and Saka are doing their job well, Arsenal must make a move for Cedric Soares.
Cedric is primarily a right-back but is also capable of playing as a left-back or as a wing-back. The 28-year-old has played 16 times for Southampton so far this campaign, successfully regaining his place in the side after being farmed out on loan to Inter Milan during the second half of last season.
In his five seasons at St. Mary’s, the full-back has racked up 117 appearances, while he has represented Portugal on 33 occasions. In fact, he won the European Championships with Portugal in 2016, playing the full 120 minutes in the final against France.
Were Cedric to arrive, he’d bring volumes of Premier League experience with him, as well as international pedigree. Plus, the former Sporting Lisbon man would provide added competition for places in the full-back areas and would help lighten some of the injury concerns that Arteta currently has in defence.
Soares is still only 28 so he will have a few good years left in him to compete at the highest level. If Arteta and co. manage to sign the Portuguese defender, it would represent a smart piece of business for Arsenal.