Arsenal exclusive: Cedric Soares agents actively looking for transfer after clear Arteta message; Villarreal and Prem clubs interested

Cedric Soares, Arsenal, February 2022.

Cedric Soares on the ball for Arsenal in February 2022

Cedric Soares is looking to leave Arsenal after Mikel Arteta left him out of his squad for the Gunners’ pre-season tour of the USA.

TEAMtalk understands Villarreal are one of the teams interested in taking on the Euro 2016 winner while informal discussions are taking place with three top Portuguese clubs.

Meanwhile, a number of Premier League teams are also understood to be interested in securing his signature.

Any move for Cedric would be permanent, with only one year left on his contract, as the Portugal defender seeks regular game time.

Cedric has fallen down the pecking order at Arsenal, which resulted in him making just four appearances in the first half of last season. He was loaned out to fellow London side Fulham in the January transfer window, although his fortunes did not improve at Craven Cottage.

The full-back, who predominantly operates on the right, only managed 287 minutes in a Fulham shirt, which works out at just over three full matches.

Cedric was not selected for Arsenal’s pre-season tour as Arteta can instead rely on Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu and new signing Jurrien Timber to play at right-back and Cedric’s team have now started actively looking for a move.

Arteta’s decision to leave the Portuguese out of his squad has been viewed as a clear message that the player is not in his plans going forward and, with Cedric aiming for a starting place, a summer exit appears imminent.

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Club record signing Nicolas Pepe, as well as Cedric, remain on the books at Emirates Stadium as reminders of the previous regime. Other players from that time – such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil – have had their contracts ripped up by Arteta and it would come as no surprise if the aforementioned duo are offered the same fate.

However, while there is concrete interest in Cedric, Arsenal are currently short of meaningful interest in Pepe, who has not travelled with the Gunners’ first-team squad for their US tour either.

Meanwhile, Watts has also explained why Arsenal abandoned a move that was ‘very close’ in order to bring in Timber.