Arsenal have completed the signing of Cedric Soares on loan from Southampton.
The Portuguese right-back is out of contract at the end of the season and Arsenal will cover Cedric’s wages for the remainder of his time on the south coast, whilst also paying a loan fee and covering agent fees.
Cedric, 28, is able to fill in at left-back as well, offering Mikel Arteta depth in a problem position. Arsenal have consistently struggled to find back-up in the position since Hector Bellerin made it his own, with Mathieu Debuchy, Carl Jenkinson and Stephan Lichtsteiner all disappointing.
Maitland-Niles has proven to be a more able deputy but both he and Arteta view his natural position as being in midfield.
Though Arsenal are not committed to Cedric beyond the season should he prove a success they would be well placed to bring him in on a permanent basis should he prove to be a success.
Cedric had already told Southampton he would not be signing an extension and the Saints moved to replace him by signing Kyle Walker-Peters from Tottenham on loan.
Speaking to the official club website, technical director Edu said: “Cedric is a defender with good experience of the Premier League, and of course at international level.
He is another strong addition to our defensive unit who will provide our squad with quality. I know he is a player who plays with absolute full commitment and energy.
“We are all looking forward to going into the last stages of the season with Cedric as part of the club.”
Arsenal had already added Pablo Mari on loan from Flamengo this week. His arrival, for a £4million loan fee with the option to sign him for £8million, speaks to the Gunners’ priorities in the January market.
The Gunners are reluctant to commit either sizeable money or a guaranteed squad space to players acquired in mid-season when there could be superior alternatives available at the end of the campaign.