Arsenal are hoping to complete the signing of Cedric Soares on loan from Premier League rivals Southampton on Thursday.
And now the Evening Standard reports that Soares has ‘permission to hold talks’ with Arsenal after they agreed a fee with Southampton for the Portugal international.
Arsenal will pay a loan fee of around £1million and cover Soares‘ £65,000-a-week wages, with the report adding: ‘It is expected that they will sign him permanently in the summer when his contract expires and an option for a longer-term deal for then is on the table’.
The Standard continued by saying that Kurzawa’s wage demands were more than Soares, while the Saints defender has valuable Premier League experience.
On The Athletic‘s deadline day blog, David Ornstein wrote: “Arsenal only have two centre-backs who are completely fit – Luiz and Sokratis. Holding is still working his way back to top condition after his serious knee injury, Mustafi now has an ankle problem, Chambers is a long-term absentee and Mavropanos is out on loan.
“So Mari on loan for the rest of the season makes sense from a numbers and financial perspective (they needed a body and don’t have much money this window) and also fulfils Mikel Arteta’s request for a left-footed centre-back. It gives them cover and a chance to assess whether the Spaniard would be worth bringing in permanently.
“With Saliba then arriving in the summer, this does appear to me to be good squad planning. I’ve also been told by a few reliable people in the game that Mari’s profile, quality and age make that a really good signing.
“I don’t think Matviyenko is happening (famous last words!) and Soares is not a centre-back, he’s a full-back. Admittedly that seems quite a curious move, but don’t forgot Arteta said he wanted to reinforce the full-back positions and that was evidenced by the Kurzawa pursuit before Soares came to the fore.
“It could turn out to be a good deal, it might not, but it is another that gives Arsenal flexibility in the summer and I’m not as surprised as some are with these transfers.
“Whether defence was/is Arsenal’s most pressing area of concern or not, I personally feel it has long needed some proper work because the amount of money they have spent on attackers compared to defenders (and the relative quality) is disproportionate, although they obviously invested heavily in Saliba and Tierney last summer.
“Are these two recruits part of the answers? We’ll see, but I don’t think there has been an unnecessary stockpiling.”