Arsenal near £5m deal to sign experienced Premier League full-back

Arsenal are closing in on a move for Southampton defender Cedric Soares as they look to add competition for Hector Bellerin at right-back, according to reports.

Portugal international Soares has shown no intention to extend his stay at St Mary’s Stadium, where his contract expires at the end of the season – forcing the Saints to cash in.

Various reports suggest that Arsenal are ready to pay £5m to take Cedric off Southampton’s hands, with the Daily Mail and Sky Sports among those to validate the claims.

The 28-year-old has made more than 130 appearances for Southampton during his five seasons in the Premier League, providing Arsenal with the experience they would need.

Finding a reliable back-up for Bellerin has been a problem for Arsenal in recent seasons, with Stephan Lichtsteiner’s move in 2018 not working out as expected, before the Swiss international left in the summer – at which point Soares was first linked with the club.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has alternated with Bellerin this season, with Calum Chambers also featuring in the position on occasion.

Soares would provide more experience, having been a regular Premier League player since 2015 and having won Euro 2016 with Portugal.

Should the deal go ahead, it will be the second January in a row in which Soares has left Southampton, after joining Inter Milan on loan with an option to buy that was ultimately not taken last year.