Arsenal defender Cedric Soares is expected to finalize a six-month loan move to Premier League side Fulham this week, according to ESPN.
Soares initially joined Arsenal on loan from Southampton in January 2020 and made the move permanent the following summer. Having been brought in as a backup option, he has often found playing time hard to come by in north London.
The Portuguese has made only 59 appearances across all competitions for the Gunners over the past three years. He has amassed just 27 minutes of Premier League action under Mikel Arteta this season.
Soares has thus been linked with a move away from the Emirates Stadium during the ongoing winter transfer window. Fulham reportedly identified him as a target even before the start of the month.
Talks over a loan deal between the two London clubs have gained speed in recent days, according to the aforementioned source. Soares is now expected to move to Craven Cottage on a six-month deal.
Fulham have agreed to cover the entirety of the right-back's wages, which is around £100,000 a week, during his loan stint. However, they will not have the option to make the move permanent in the summer.
The Cottagers stepped up their interest in Soares after manager Marco Silva identified him as a priority target. It is worth noting that Silva worked with the defender during his time as the Sporting Lisbon boss.
Fulham are hopeful that Soares' addition will help them build on their strong start to the 2022-23 season. They are currently placed seventh in the table with 31 points, having won nine and drawn four of their 21 matches so far.
Soares' imminent transfer to Fulham means that he will miss out on a medal if the Gunners manage to win the title this term. It appears he has prioritized regular playing time over Premier League glory.
Arsenal are in the market for a right-back
While Soares appears to be on his way, Arsenal are in the market for a right-back themselves. They have notably been credited with an interest in signing Real Valladolid's Ivan Fresneda.
There have been claims that the Gunners have reached an agreement with the Spanish club over a deal for Fresneda. However, the player is yet to make a decision regarding his future, with Borussia Dortmund also in the mix for him.
Even if Arsenal win the race for Fresneda, he will likely not take Soares' place in the squad. The youngster is expected to remain at Valladolid for the rest of the season as part of the agreement.