Cedric Soares joined Arsenal from Southampton on an initial six-month loan in January 2020, and the transfer was made permanent the following summer as his contract with the Saints expired. Since then, the Portuguese right-back has made a total of 59 appearances for the club, scoring twice and laying on five assists.
But Cedric’s arrival to North London appears to have been on the cards long before it happened. In 2015, as the player himself has revealed, he had just come to England, joining Southampton from boyhood club Sporting Lisbon, when he went with his father and his agent to watch Arsenal play at the Emirates. His father was so impressed with everything he saw that he immediately told the agent, “this is the place where you need to bring my son”. Five years later, it happened; Arsenal came calling, and there obviously wasn’t much to think about.
“When I left Southampton there were two big teams interested in signing me, and one of them of course was Arsenal,” Cedric said. “But in the end, it was an easy decision for me to make, because that had been in my mind.”
Cedric says he was reluctant to tell his father when he first learned about the Gunners’ interest, fearing to see disappointment in his face if the move falls through. But he was very happy to open up once the wheels were in motion.
Far from being a regular starter under Mikel Arteta, the 31-year-old continues to exhibit high levels of professionalism, working hard and waiting patiently for any chance he may get to help his teammates on the pitch. This season, he has only started once so far, the 3-1 Carabao Cup defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, making three more appearances (two in the Premier League, one in the Europa League) off the bench. There is just over 18 months left on his contract.