Why West Ham should beat Arsenal to the signature of Cedric Soares
The Hammers are expected to face stiff competition from Premier League rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal in their pursuit of the Portuguese international, who will be out of contract at the end of the ongoing campaign (TEAMtalk h/t EN 24 News).
As per the report, the Saints could be forced to cash in on the 29-year-old right-back in January to avoid losing him for absolutely nothing at the end of the season, with no signs of a breakthrough in negotiations.
Cedric Soares has accumulated 3 goals and 10 assists in 126 appearances for Southampton in all competitions since his move from Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 2015. He found himself farmed out on loan to Inter Milan by manager Ralph Hasenhuttl during the second half of the previous campaign.
The Austrian boss preferred teenage academy prospect Yan Valery in a right wing-back role the last term.
Notwithstanding the fact that Soares has enjoyed involvement in the playing XI this season, the Euro 2016 winner’s unsettled contract situation is rather worrisome.
The 29-year-old’s obvious quality as a right-back, as well as his wealth of Premier League experience, makes him a handy option for all the aforementioned clubs.
However, West Ham could bag a real coup if they manage to beat off competition in the race to sign the Portuguese international.
The Londoners currently find themselves languishing in the bottom half of the standings, just three points above the relegation zone.
A tally of just of 16 goals scored and 23 conceded in 13 games clearly epitomizes the need to bring in defensive reinforcements, given that the Hammers have already registered a negative goal difference with two-thirds of the campaign yet to go.
The right-back position continues to present a big dilemma for Pellegrini, with Ryan Fredericks failing to live up to the expectations and veteran Pablo Zabaleta past his prime.
With Zabaleta out of contract next summer and Fredericks not doing enough to prove his worth, West Ham certainly need to bring in a new right-back. And to that end, nabbing a tried and tested player like Cedric Soares on a cut-price deal in January would be wise.
At 29, the Portuguese international has a lot to offer at the highest level. Soares has enough gas left in his tank to come through the door at the London Stadium as an upgrade on the Hammers’ existing defensive options.
West Ham have found themselves too exposed at the back in recent weeks, even against modest opposition.
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All in all, West Ham winning the race for Cedric Soares could potentially solve a nagging issue in a key area of the pitch for Pellegrini.