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Arsenal target Southampton defender Cedric after finalising Pablo Mari deal

12:59 AM GMT+8 30/01/2020
Cedric Soares Southampton 2019-20
The Gunners are looking into the possibility of signing the Portugal international right-back as cover for Hector Bellerin

Arsenal are looking to sign Cedric Soares from Southampton before Friday night’s transfer deadline.

Having wrapped up a loan deal for Flamengo centre-back Pablo Mari on Wednesday, the Gunners have now turned their attentions to bolstering their options at full-back.

Mikel Arteta wants to bring in cover for Hector Bellerin and Goal can confirm that Cedric has emerged as a genuine target for the north London club.

The Portugal international is out of contract in the summer and Southampton are open to letting him leave St Mary's this month, with talks now progressing about the structure of the deal

It is understood that the deal would see Cedric join Arsenal on loan until the end of the season, with the Gunners paying a £1 million loan fee as well as taking on the player's wages.

Speaking after Soares was replaced just 21 minutes into Southampton’s 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on January 21, boss Ralph Hasenhuttl confirmed: “Cedric is out for three weeks maybe with a ligament injury in the knee.”

Should that timescale be correct, the defender could be available again after the upcoming mid-season break.

Earlier this month, Arteta spoke about the problems he has faced at full-back. At the time he was playing Ainsley Maitland-Niles at right-back while Hector Bellerin was out injured and teenage winger Bukayo Saka at left-back, with both Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac on the treatment table.

“We are playing with full-backs that are not full-backs,” said Arsenal’s head coach. “They are wingers or central midfielders. Could we afford to lose full-backs? No, we don’t have any.”

Arsenal view Cedric as a good option to cover for Bellerin, while he can also operate on the left if needs be.

If a deal can be concluded before Friday’s 11pm GMT (6pm ET) deadline, he would become Arsenal’s second new addition of the window following the arrival of Mari from Flamengo.

The Gunners have agreed a loan deal for the 26-year-old centre-back and have an option to make the transfer permanent in the summer.

Speaking about his move to north London, Mari said: “I’m happy to be here and to have signed for a big club. I’m going to do my best to help my team-mates and the club.

“This is one of the best clubs in the world, so I’m absolutely delighted to be joining. I’m really looking forward to playing in this jersey and helping my team.”