The right-back becomes manager Mikel Arteta’s second January signing after defender Pablo Mari joined the Gunners on loan from Flamengo on Wednesday. Arsenal signed the defender in a loan fee of about £1 million which will cover up his weekly wages of around £65,000. The Gunners also have an option to sign the Portuguese permanently when he becomes a free agent in the summer.
Soares, whose Southampton contract expires at the end of the season, moved to the Emirates stadium after the arrival of Kyle Walker-Peters from Tottenham on a six-month loan. The 28-year-old is currently recovering from a knee problem he suffered during the win against Crystal Palace earlier this month.
The right-back has made more than 100 appearances since joining the south coast club in 2015. Cedric started his career at Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon, developing through the youth ranks before making his first team debut in the Portuguese Primeira League at the age of 19.
Soares joined Inter Milan on loan last January with an option to buy at the end of the season which the Italian club did not take up. Meanwhile, the Portuguese has been a regular in the starting line-up during Southampton’s resurgence in form under manager Ralph Hasenhuttl since December.
An experienced international, Cedric has made 33 appearances for his country. He featured in the 2018 World Cup and was also part of the Portugal squad that won Euro 2016. During his career, the defender has also had spells on loan at Academica in Portugal.
Speaking about his move to Arsenal, Soares said he likes what he sees of the club under Mikel Arteta. He added that he nearly joined the club “a few years ago”.
“I’ve been watching the last couple of weeks and you can see that something changed, definitely,” Soares told Arsenal website.
“There is a lot of work to do but already his ideas have started to appear in the game, that is good. I am sure Arsenal will be very successful.
“I see a team that wants to assume the game, a team that is comfortable to have the ball, and I see everyone looks like they are working hard when they lose possession as well.
“There’s a high press and then it’s all about controlling the opponent and trying to score as well. I think Arsenal is in a good way.”
He added that he cannot wait to get to meet his new teammates, the manager and to start playing.
Soares said: “It has been a while, to be fair.
“We were close a few years ago, so it’s not the first time. It didn’t happen that time but now thank God it came true. I’m super happy.
“Obviously it was important for me in my career to come here. Southampton gave me the opportunity to play in the Premier League but obviously it’s amazing this step, to come here and play for Arsenal.
“To be able to reach this point is unbelievable.
“One hundred percent that I will give all my best every day and every game,” he added. “I try to be a guy with energy, a player that goes up and down. I like to consider myself a team player and yes, what can I say? It’s difficult when you need to talk about yourself! But again, I will give my 100 percent for the team and for the fans.”
Also speaking about the arrival of Soares, 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.”