Premier League • England

Benched Arsenal man pushes for January exit as agent contacts Premier League, European suitors

Cedric Soares and Rob Holding of Arsenal

Mikel Arteta could lose an Arsenal squad player this winter amid claims his agent is in contact with three clubs about a potential transfer.

Arsenal have enjoyed a fantastic start to the 2022-23 season, winning 12 out of their 14 Premier League matches. They sit top of the table on 37 points, with a comfortable five-point lead on reigning champions Manchester City.

Arsenal have also qualified top of their Europa League group, winning all but one of their six matches. This means they have avoided a play-off tie, unlike Manchester United. Erik ten Hag’s men will come up against Barcelona in an attempt to reach the last 16.

There are several reasons why Arsenal have had so much success this term. One is that they are gunning to rectify the wrongs of last season, when they narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification.

Arteta is also benefitting from the club’s top business in the transfer market. They have created a great squad filled with young stars such as William Saliba, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard, as well as experienced players like Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey.

Arsenal have also been helped to top spot in the Premier League by their squad players. Rob Holding is a great example, as he often comes off the bench when they need to hold onto a lead.

However, one of Holding’s fellow substitutes could end up leaving the Emirates in January. According to Italian source TuttoMercatoWeb, Cedric Soares is gearing up for a move elsewhere.

They claim the right-back’s agent has been in contact with several teams about a possible transfer. Fulham are the sole English team showing interest in taking Cedric on board.

Arsenal defender wanted in Europe

He is also a target for Spanish club Villarreal. Meanwhile, in Germany, Bayer Leverkusen are looking to sign the 31-year-old.

Cedric’s Arsenal contract doesn’t run out until summer 2024. But the Gunners are unlikely to offer him a new deal, and it seems his representative is aiming to resolve his long-term future.

Cedric would probably love to win the league crown with Arsenal this campaign. However, he also wants to play more regularly, and this suggests he is the one pushing his agent to get a move.

Arsenal probably wouldn’t be able to make much money on the Portuguese. This is due to his contract running down, while transfermarkt rate him at just €4m (currently £3.5m).

However, Arsenal officials probably wouldn’t mind this too much. After all, they captured him on a free transfer from Southampton in July 2020. So any money they receive for him next year would come as a profit.

Cedric isn’t good enough to be Arsenal’s first-choice right-back, especially if they are looking at getting back into the UCL.

Arteta can instead rely on Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu on the right side of defence. Both of these players have shown they have far more attacking threat than Cedric this year.

Cedric could still play a fairly important role for Arsenal if either of those players pick up injuries. But it is hard to blame him for wanting a transfer to test his skills elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Arsenal technical director Edu is reportedly hoping to gazump Liverpool for the signing of a versatile attacker.