Premier League • England

Arteta relents as Arsenal agree favourable deal with London rival for veteran star who could push summer flop to Man Utd

Arsenal stars Fabio Vieira and Cedric Soares

Arsenal have agreed favourable terms over a move that’ll send Cedric Soares to Fulham, and the move could in turn push a summer flop out who’s remarkably been linked with Man Utd, per reports.

Cedric, 31, has seen his role in north London diminish of late. Both Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu are centre-halves by trade, though the pair have played predomianntly at right-back when taking to the field this season.

William Saliba’s budding partnership with Gabriel Magalhaes has pushed White over to full-back. With Tomiyasu an uber-reliable back-up, Cedric is now a distant third choice.

That sparked talk throughout the January window of a move across London to this year’s surprise package – Fulham.

Marco Silva’s regular right-back is Kenny Tete. However, when the Dutchman missed the majority of their matches in October through injury, summer recruit Kevin Mbabu was conspicuously overlooked.

Silva instead opted to play winger Bobby Decordova-Red out of position in defence. Clearly, Mbabu is not the player Silva believed he was getting.

Fulham are in the midst of a remarkable push for European qualification. To maintain their surge in the second half of the campaign, they’ve now agreed terms with Arsenal to sign Cedric on a six-month loan.

The news was broken by ESPN and has since been confirmed by Fabrizio Romano.

Gunners negotiate favourable terms

ESPN stated the loan will not contain an option or obligation to buy. That means Arsenal will have a fresh decision to make on the 31-year-old at season’s end. At that stage, he’ll only have 12 months remaining on his Gunners deal.

ESPN are adamant Cedric currently pockets around £100,000-a-week, contrary to reports elsewhere. In a superb piece of negotiating from Arsenal, it’s reported Fulham will cover 100 percent of the salary.

In doing so, Cedric will likely become Fulham’s highest paid player ever, albeit while only on a six-month loan.

Silva is understood to be the main driver of the move having worked with Cedric before while the pair were at Sporting Lisbon in the 2014-15 campaign.

Reports in November suggested Mikel Arteta was somewhat reluctant to lose Cedric despite his limited influence these days.

The Arsenal boss is understandably hesitant to weaken his squad given what they’re fighting for this season. However, the Spaniard finally appears to have relented.

Romano backed up much of ESPN’s reporting, adding Fulham are ‘close to completing’ the move.

Arsenal deal to aid shock Man Utd move?

Once Cedric puts the finishing touches on his move to Craven Cottage, the future of Kevin Mbabu will come under the microscope.

Mbabu, 27, was a €7.5m (approx. £6.6m including add-ons) signing from Wolfsburg only last summer. The Switzerland international has struggled to make the grade in the Premier League and remarkably, has been linked with Man Utd.

Italian outlet TuttoMercatoWeb last week reported a shock move for Mbabu was ‘advanced’. English outlets treated the report with caution, though the Athletic did later claim Mbabu is likely to be on the move in 2023.

Cedric’s arrival would embolden Fulham to sever ties and Mbabu’s greater attacking threat when compared to Aaron Wan-Bissaka could appeal.

But for the time being at least, an Mbabu move to Old Trafford appears rooted more in speculation than fact.

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