- Arsenal could reintegrate a forgotten star into their squad this season.
- The full-back struggled for playing time at the Emirates Stadium.
- He has also attracted interest from eslewhere across Europe this summer.
Mikel Arteta hopes his Gunners squad can challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title this campaign as they return to the Champions League for the first time since 2017.
Arsenal news – Cedric Soares
It looked as though Soares’ Arsenal career was over in January when the full-back secured a loan move to Fulham during the second half of the Premier League season. The £75,000 per-week earner had found opportunities limited under Arteta last term, with Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko making the right-back and left-back spots their own, respectively. However, with Jurrien Timber’s potentially season-ending injury this campaign, coupled with White shifting to a centre-back role on occasion, it’s possible that Soares could feature in the Gunners’ plans going forward.
Soares is offered no guarantees over his future in north London, though, and has been the subject of interest across Europe following the summer transfer window’s closure. According to Football.London, the former Southampton man has interest from Portugal, with FC Porto, Benfica and Sporting CP all considering moving for his signature, with the Portuguese transfer window open until 22nd September.
Last month, Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth told GIVEMESPORT that Arsenal wanted to offload Soares alongside Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares. The Spanish head coach managed to shift the latter duo out of the club to Luton Town and Nottingham Forest, respectively. But Soares remains at the Emirates, heading into the club’s return to the Champions League.
Arteta has previously praised Cedric for his determination to fight to get back involved in the Arsenal picture in 2022. He told the media (via the Daily Star):
“It’s not a coincidence. When you have the professionalism, dedication, habits and obviously, the experience and qualities Cedric has - and you never give up - then in the end, good things happen. He’s been patient, he’s been keeping quiet, he’s been working hard and accepting the situation. And when he’s had the chance, he’s done well. That’s why the national manager has decided to bring him back, which I’m really happy with. The player has to take all the credit - and I think his teammates have to learn a lot about that option. Because when you don’t play and think you are right, you can take a completely different route.”
The Portugal international may have no choice but to adopt that attitude again, if he is to break into a young Arsenal side aiming to challenge on a domestic and European front this term.
Premier League clubs average age of players used this season
Full table available via Transfermarkt
What has Brown said about Arsenal and Soares?
Brown claims that Arsenal were looking to sign an extra full-back towards the end of the transfer window and suggests that Soares could be reintegrated into Arteta’s side heading into the autumn. The journalist told GIVEMESPORT:
“It's possible that we see Soares reintegrated a little bit. He isn't a bad option as a backup full-back. Arsenal aren't blessed with many full-backs and were looking for an extra one at the end of the window. So, it’s possible we might see him play this season. Arteta has been using centre-backs or Partey as makeshift full-backs. So, I think he gives them an option that people might have forgotten about, but I do think he could play this season.”
How does Soares compare to Arsenal’s other full-back options?
Unsurprisingly, Arteta chose to loan Soares to Fulham in January, given the 32-year-old struggled for regular minutes at the Emirates Stadium last season. Compared to Arsenal’s alternative full-back options last term, the Portuguese defender played in just 227 minutes worth of action, compared to White’s 3,055 and Zinchenko’s 2,118, according to FBref.
Despite making the lowest number of passes out of White, Zinchenko and Takehiro Tomiyasu, Soares still holds the unwanted honour of having the lowest pass completion rate out of the four, at a rate of 77.1%. However, the former Fulham loanee did rank highest for tackle success rate, winning 75% of his challenges against dribblers, only losing one out of four attempts. But having played in only 3.3% of minutes last season, it’s difficult to see where Soares fits in Arteta’s plans going forward.
The right-back could be an option coming off the bench to provide fresh legs in the closing stages of games, with Arteta having to balance Premier League and Champions League football this term. But a starting berth for Soares seems unlikely, having failed to nail down a regular spot in Arteta’s Arsenal side and Marco Silva’s Fulham outfit last season.