Arsenal have signed Cedric Soares on loan from Southampton for the rest of the season.
[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]
The Portuguese right back, 28, is out of contract in the summer so would have left Saints for nothing in July.
Arsenal will reportedly pay Southampton a $4.5 million loan fee and cover Cedric’s wages for the rest of the season. The Portugal international, who won EURO 2016 with his homeland, will then be able to sign a contract with the Gunners in the summer if he performs well.
Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.
Speaking about his move to the Emirates Stadium, Cedric revealed he almost joined Arsenal a few years ago and is delighted to have now arrived in north London to bolster Mikel Arteta’s defensive options.
“Obviously it was important for me in my career to come here. Southampton gave me the opportunity to play in the Premier League but obviously it’s amazing this step, to come here and play for Arsenal. To be able to reach this point is unbelievable,” Cedric said. “One hundred per cent that I will give all my best every day and every game. I try to be a guy with energy, a player that goes up and down. I like to consider myself a team player and yes, what can I say? It’s difficult when you need to talk about yourself! But again, I will give my 100 per cent for the team and for the fans.”
Cedric is a versatile player who can play at right back and left back and Arsenal are short of options in those areas. He will provide cover for Hector Bellerin and that will allow Ainsley Maitland-Niles to move back into his preferred position in midfield.
Picking up a solid, reliable international full back for a small loan fee with the option to sign him for nothing in the summer is a smart move from the Gunners.
Cedric isn’t the most glamorous signing in the world but after the loan addition of center back Pablo Mari earlier this week, Arteta is making sensible signings in the area of the pitch where Arsenal need help most: defense.