Arsenal have made two signings already in January but could look to conduct more business before deadline day is over.
The Gunners confirmed the loan addition of Cedric Soares from Southampton today after already bringing in 26-year-old centre-back Pablo Mari from Flamengo on Wednesday, with the Spaniard joining on loan until the end of the season with an option to buy.
The Gunners wanted to strengthen at full-back and Soares arrives on a loan deal until the end of the season from Southampton. The 28-year-old will give Mikel Arteta options at the back and has plenty of experience in the English top flight.
He has made more than 100 appearances for the Saints while also being part of the Portugal squad that won Euro 2016.
“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,” Arsenal Technical director Edu told the club website.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Mari will add depth to a defence that has caused Arsenal problems this season, with a mixture of poor performances and injuries making the Gunners suffer. Mikel Arteta’s side currently sit 10th in the Premier League and will be looking to return at least to the top six before the season is over.
As a result, the Gunners are still being linked with more transfer business before deadline day. So, will anything happen?
Arsenal transfer business so far
IN: Pablo Mari (Flamengo, loan), Cedric Soares (Southampton, loan).
OUT: Ben Sheaf (Doncaster Rovers, loan), Tyreece John-Jules (Lincoln City, loan) Emile Smith Rowe (Huddersfield Town, loan) Konstantinos Mavropanos (FC Nurnberg, loan), Deyan Iliev (Jagiellonia Bialystok, loan), James Olayinka (Northampton, loan).
Arsenal transfer targets
Arteta hasn’t been Arsenal manager for too long, replacing Freddie Ljungberg in late December – after the Swede took over as caretaker following Unai Emery‘s departure. As a result, the Spaniard will not have had too long to evaluate the Gunners squad before making any personal transfer decisions.
But he has been at the Emirates long enough to realise the Gunners were in desperate need for a centre-back and in came Mari. And it appears Arteta and Arsenal may not be done yet.
Speaking earlier in January, Arteta hinted that Arsenal would be looking to make “a few” signings – before the Mari deal was done.
“At the moment there is nothing coming up,” Arteta told talkSPORT when asked about transfers. “The club is working on a few things but you know how difficult this window is and I’m not expecting many things.”
Arsenal transfer rumours
Another defensive signing Arsenal have been linked with is that of Mykola Matviyenko. According to Ukrainian outlet TEAM1, the Gunners have actually reached an agreement with Shakhtar Donetsk for the 23-year-old centre-back.
Arteta will have already seen Matviyenko in action this season when Shakhtar faced Manchester City in the Champions League group stage – with the Spaniard still Pep Guardiola‘s assistant at the time. Matviyenko played the full 90 minutes in both matches but was powerless to stop Man City score three at the Etihad in the opening game of the group.
However, it remains to be seen whether the Mari signing will have any affect on Arsenal’s reported pursuit of Matviyenko.
It’s not just incomings that Arsenal are being linked with this month, the Gunners could also be set to wave goodbye to some players. One who has been linked with a move away is club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gabonese forward is a target of Barcelona, according to the Telegraph, as the La Liga side look to replace the injured Luis Suarez.
Aubameyang – who is 10/1* to sign for Barcelona before the transfer window closes – joined Arsenal in January 2018 and has gone on to become key to their hopes of success but there are fears the 30-year-old would look to leave with the Gunners’ Champions League dreams appearing to be over for another season.
But Arsenal fans may still be buoyed by Aubameyang appear to quash transfer rumours earlier in January, pledging his commitment to the club.
“People like making up stories and they should focus on what’s happening on the pitch,” he said at the time.
“They talk too much and it does my head in! I am the Arsenal captain. I love this club.
“I am committed to it and desperate to bring it back to the top, where it belongs.”
Someone more likely to leave is Dani Ceballos. The Spaniard joined Arsenal on loan from Real Madrid in the summer, a move that sent Arsenal fans into raptures.
However, he hasn’t really settled at the Emirates, playing 927 minutes across his 18 appearances so far. Like many of Arsenal‘s players this season, Ceballos has had to deal with injury problems but upon his return he has failed to impress Arteta.
And the Mirror are reporting that Ceballos is keen to end his loan early, in order to gain more playing time elsewhere in hopes of making Spain’s squad for Euro 2020.