Arsenal have completed their second January signing with the addition of Cédric Soares, the Southampton right-back, on loan until the end of the season. Soares, who is out of contract with the Saints this summer, will add cover in what has been a problematic position in recent months and his addition is expected to complete the club’s incoming transfer window activity.
Injuries to Calum Chambers and, until recently, Héctor Bellerín had blighted Arsenal’s right-back position in recent months. Ainsley Maitland-Niles had filled in to good effect of late but his long-term future is considered to lie in midfield. It meant the position was towards the top of Mikel Arteta’s January priorities and several options were explored, including a move for the Olympiakos captain Omar Elabdellaoui. The lack of significant financial commitment required to move for Soares, plus the player’s availability on a free transfer in the summer, eventually made the 28-year-old their top target.
The Arsenal technical director Edu said: “Cedric is a defender with good experience of the Premier League and of course at international level. He is another strong addition to our defensive unit who will provide our squad with quality. I know he is a player who plays with absolute full commitment and energy. We are all looking forward to going into the last stages of the season with Cédric as part of the club.”
Soares, who has 33 caps for Portugal, joined Southampton from Sporting Lisbon in 2015 and has played for them 138 times – 19 of those appearances coming for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side this season. He spent the second half of 2018-19 on loan at Internazionale but featured sporadically for the Serie A club and a longer-term arrangement was not pursued. An injury sustained in Saints’ match against Crystal Palace earlier this month means he will be unavailable for an Arsenal debut at Burnley on Sunday but he is likely to be available when they face Newcastle on 16 February, following the side’s winter break.
It is the second loan deal Arsenal have completed this week, with the Flamengo centre-back Pablo Marí arriving on Wednesday in a move that could be made permanent this summer.