Premier League • England

Arsenal open talks over forgotten man’s exit that swells Man Utd chances of completing astonishing deal

Arsenal stars Fabio Vieira and Cedric Soares

Fulham are in talks with Arsenal over a deal to sign Cedric Soares, with a report claiming he could replace a surprise player who’s remarkably being linked with a left-field move to Man Utd.

Cedric, 31, has tumbled down the pecking order in his favoured right-back position of late. The arrival of Takehiro Tomiyasu, combined with Ben White’s shift over to full-back has plunged the Portuguese down to third choice.

talkSPORT reported in late-December Cedric had emerged as a January target for Marco Silva’s high-flying Fulham.

Kenny Tete is Silva’s preferred choice at right-back, though reliable depth beyond the Dutchman is in short supply.

Kevin Mbabu was signed from Wolfsburg over the summer. However, the Swiss international has turned out to be something of a flop.

Indeed, when Tete missed the vast bulk of Fulham’s matches in October through injury, Silva turned to winger Bobby Decordova-Reid to fill the void, not Mbabu.

Cedric would represent a dependable and experienced option for Silva as they push for European qualification. According to the Athletic, talks between Arsenal and Fulham have opened.

The Cottagers are open to either a loan or permanent move, though the former will be difficult to forge.

That’s because Fulham have already hit their quota of loan signings. Brighton’s Shane Duffy and Dan James of Leeds have both been signed on season-long loans this season.

A permanent move would therefore be easier to make, though it’s noted Cedric’s salary could prove a ‘stumbling block’. In other words he’d likely have to take a pay-cut if leaving the Emirates for Craven Cottage.

Furthermore, Mikel Arteta still needs some convincing ditching Cedric is the right thing to do. In a season where Arsenal could lift their first title since 2004, Arteta cannot afford to make any mistakes, especially in the market.

A move is therefore deemed not close at present, though the first step has been taken with talks now open and Fulham are more than willing to explore a deal in any way they can.

Cedric to Fulham tees up shock Man Utd raid?

The Athletic also include a line about Mbabu that’ll be of note to Manchester United fans.

The report adds the reason Fulham are hunting a new right-back is because Mbabu is ‘likely to move on’.

That relates to Man Utd through a remarkable report out of Italy.

TuttoMercatoWeb recently claimed an Mbabu move to Old Trafford is in the works right now. In their words, the deal is at an ‘advanced negotiation stage’.

As far as left-field moves go, Mbabu to Man Utd would be a big one, especially as he’s barely got a look-in since joining Fulham. Mbabu has just one league start to his name this season and hasn’t featured at all since early-November.

TMW’s report regarding a United move for Mbabu was treated with scepticism from secondary outlets that cited their information.

However, the Athletic’s claim he’s likely to be on the move does add weight to the Man Utd speculation.

In the event Mbabu were to join the Red Devils, Aaron Wan-Bissaka would likely be the fall guy.

Despite a recent surge in Diogo Dalot’s injury absence, the 25-year-old remains limited going forward and as such, is believed to be a poor fit for Ten Hag.

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