Why Cedric Soares to Arsenal is a perfectly sensible addition
By Daniel Finton
Various credible outlets have been reporting that Southampton’s right back, Cedric Soares, known by most as Cedric, will be signing for Arsenal on loan before tomorrow comes to an end and the January transfer window slams shut. Many Arsenal fans through social media platforms, such as Twitter, have been left unpleasantly surprised by the late coming links to the Portuguese international. Whilst I do understand their reservations over the purchase and their reasoning behind it, I can’t help but think the acquisition of Cedric’s services would be an absolute coup.
To start things off, the 28-year-old has no shortage of experience at the top level. Cedric has impressively made over 100 appearances with Southampton and also over 30 with his national team, Portugal. In 2016, he was part of the Portuguese side that lifted the European Championship, beating the favourites of the competition, France, in their own backyard in the final.
Cedric’s experience could be quite beneficial to other young defenders coming up through the ranks, such as our starting right back, Hector Bellerin. Notably, the same was said about Stephan Lichtsteiner prior to his arrival and the 34-year-old’s tenure with the club was pretty awful. However, I would deem the Swiss international’s contribution to Bellerin’s knowledge of the right back role growing as a positive. Cedric should undoubtedly show Bellerin a thing or two more about the role.
The opposing claim to the signing of the Portuguese, Euro winner, is that it may put a halt to the growth of many of our highly thought of youngsters, including Ainsley Maitland-Niles, in particular. I would have to completely disagree with that notion. In my opinion, if Maitland-Niles wants to have a future with the club it must be through the utility role that I alluded to in my previous article. Having Maitland-Niles as the only back up to the injury prone Bellerin could be a mistake. Despite the recent run of promising performances from the Englishman in the right back role, I do still have reservations over whether or not he is a sustainable backup to Bellerin in the long-term future. There are many instances where he has shown massive lapses in concentration and he has cost us dearly on a few occasions.
Obviously, given his age you can’t hold this against him in too strict a manner, although he is by no means the “perfect” second fiddle to the right back position. At the ripe age of 22, Maitland-Niles still has a great deal to learn and having a 28-year-old like Cedric added to the fold could greatly help him and also Bellerin, who many forget is only twenty-four. This is a shrewd deal.