Thursday morning came loaded with rumors (what a surprise!) regarding potential Newcastle targets (how come!?) now the Magpies are seemingly the richest club in world football. Alright. But this whisper about Arsenal wing-back Cedric Soares’ availability, published on TuttoMercato, could be one of the most viable and realistic all things considered. The note, as published by the Italian news outlet, doesn’t offer transfer values and only informs about the potential interest in a purchase by Portuguese side Porto... and the fight that Newcastle might entertain this summer to try and land the do-it-all defender.
Soares arrived at Arsenal just a couple of years ago for the 2019-20 campaign and he did so after playing for Sporting CP in Portugal, Southampton (three seasons), Inter Milano (one), Southampton again (one) before moving to London first on loan and ultimately signing a deal lasting until Jun. 30, 2024.
Soares, like it or not, is already past 30 years of age and I’d guess that ain’t regressing any time soon. Soares, also, is quite a flexible asset to have around. Ask Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta, who lost Takehiro Tomiyasu and had to rely on the 34-time capped Portuguese to play big minutes for the Gunners of late. So many that Soares has now appeared in 21 matches this season starting 18 of them while logging a total of 1,520 minutes of playing time in all competitions. That minute-mark has Soares ranked as the 12th most-used player among Arsenal players this season and the fourth most-used defender in terms of minutes played in all competitions.
Early reports tagged Porto’s offer below £5M. Only, there seems to have never been an offer. on Arsenal’s table. Happens with emails these days: they get lost on their way to the final destination. Right? Right!?
It was football.london rebuking the (they say) fake news from TuttoMercato. In their own note, published later on the very same Thursday, football.london came out defending Cedric Soares by reporting that “reports claiming that [he] would like to leave Arsenal are false.” Keywords: he. would. like. In other words, and with Arsenal looking to bolster the defense on top of Soares inching closer to the ending of his current deal while unstoppably aging, the key might be more on Arteta’s hand that Soares’ and his preferences.
I started this little post saying that this rumor made the most sense of the ones getting dropped of late. Newcastle is going to scour the market looking for defensive-line reinforcements. I’d be pretty please with Matt Targett extending his loan for a bunch of years if Newcastle triggers the rumored pre-arranged clause to keep him after this season. That said, there still should be someone out there getting to Tyneside over the next few weeks and months even if that’s only as a backup adding depth to the squad.
While Soares is definitely not a young asset, he knows his fair amount about this thing they call football and comes with a very interesting trait: flexibility. Soares can play on both flanks and has a nice projection forward without finding any trouble at manning the ML/MR positions on more of a complete wing-back role from one goal line to the other.
Porto’s bid was simply ridiculous, whether it existed or was just a floated amount by those making up the rumors. That said, the price shouldn’t get much higher than the stated one. Arsenal has surely relied heavily on Soares of late, and he’s certainly delivered the goodies. This late-season run is definitely going to boost his caché a bit and come with a (small) fee inflation.
As long as the price isn’t anything otherworldly and absolutely off just because “but you’re rich as hell, your board gotta pay twice the bill!” reasons, I wouldn’t be mad at adding such a player as a veteran like Soares.
Something similar was discussed on this very site earlier today when talking about Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard (turning 30 years old next December). And similarly, there is no reason to block the addition of a solid backup to the fold as long as he’s willing to accept the move, the role, and the tasks he’ll have to manage and be asked to complete on auxiliary duties mostly coming off the bench.
Of course, some Noveau Riche fans of the Toon are going to hate me favoring this move. It happens. Kids only know the present while forgetting about the past. And obviously, they think this is either FIFA Newcastle is playing, or Manchester City’s 13th post-takeover season when everything is finally going smoothly for them and they’re just sailing to Champions League final rounds yearly.
Reality, sadly, moves at a slower pace. Which is not bad! Because... would you rather win the league in four years as Manchester City did building nicely, slowly, but surely... or find yourself in Everton’s position facing relegation because of ill-advised deals getting handed left and right without an ounce of rhyme or reason? I, for one, know very well what I want.