The Truth about Cedric Soares
On the back of an oddly timed, presumably Adidas promoted, announcement of his permanent signing I wanted to get a few things off my chest about Cedric Soares.
Let me preface this all by saying I want Bellerin to get back to his best, improve on that under Arteta and stay a long time, but please can we stop this nonsense that Soares is not an adequate rotational option for an Arsenal team aspiring for Champions League.
Hands up, I lived in the Southampton area for 13 years until 2017, I followed the fortunes of the Saints, as many friends were supporters, so I have long admired the Portuguese International.
All I am aiming to do here is dispel a few ridiculous myths:
Soares is not a player capable of playing for a top club.
Even if you discount his track record for Southampton, in 2018/19 the player was taken on loan by Inter Milan and provided perfect cover for Danilo D’Ambrosio who had been their first choice for many years. This is the role Arsenal will probably require of him and for Inter he played 4 matches in the league recording 2 assists and 4 Europa League outings.
In addition, from 2014 to 2018 he was either first- or second-choice right back for Portugal, who are hardly minnows in international terms. Indeed, it is only four year ago he took over as first choice in the round of 16 at the Euros, keeping his pace for the next three matches that saw Portugal crowned Champions of Europe. As recently as the World Cup 2018 he was still taken in the national squad to Russia.
To fall behind players such as Barca’s Nelson Semeda and Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira when it comes to Portugal is a hardly a disgrace. It would be akin to saying Trippier is now pants because Alexander-Arnold and Wan Bissaka are ahead of him in Southgate’s plans.
Is Bellerin bad because Carvahal, Roberto and Azpilicueta are good?
This is not like us signing a 34 year-old Lichtsteiner, a has-been, who had lost his pace. Soares is only 28 and still aspires to play at the top level for club and country. Exactly the type of understudy Arsenal needs: hungry and wanting to put pressure on Bellerin and impress Arteta.
Soares was signed injured and is a crock!
For some reason because Arsenal signed him on loan when injured – (the club’s choice – not the player’s) – Arsenal fans have decided the player is a sick-note or crock, to use common parlance, when this is patently not true.
Over his career Cedric Soares has had many minor injuries but no major ones and importantly, unlike some players, such as an Aaron Ramsey for example, the injuries he has suffered are not recurring. So, we should not expect recurring similar soft tissue of muscle injuries.
Here below is a complete record of his injuries throughout his career. Injuries have cost him 47 games in 8 years. In summary, if we average a season out at say 50 matches for a top side, Soares has, on average been unavailable for 6. Hardly the track record of a sicknote!
For context below is Bellerin’s injury track record largely skewed by the ACL but it illustrates that the Spaniard has been susceptible to ankle issues which twice have caused him to miss more games than Cedric has ever missed in a season until 19/20. No one is labeling Bellerin a crock and nor should they, but his injury record simply confirms why we need quality backup.
I know from the Saints Physio that he is an excellent trainer and that he still wants to play at a higher level than he felt possible with Southampton.
Don’t tarnish the player because of his agent or his contract.
Finally, I feel there is perhaps, an element of Cedric Soares being judged and opinions on him formed because of his agent.
It is not the player’s fault that his agent seems to have a close, or even unhealthily influential relationship with Arsenal. Indeed, one might applaud him for his choice as Kia is one of the best agents for players.
We can question the fact that the player was offered four years on the back of an injury, but as I have proved it was a blip of a long-term injury and the first of his career. There is no reason why 28-32 should not be top years for a fullback still fit enough to work forwards and back but with more experience to know when to.
You cannot blame Soares for taking a signing on fee if it’s offered to him and his wages – for a player of his experience and stature – are low compared to most at the club.
Arsenal have signed a 28-year-old experienced international full back, on a four-year deal, with no major transfer fee, on moderate wages, to be a rotational squad player capable of pushing their first choice right back.
Crime of the century or shrewd squad building and advanced planning?
Have I changed your mind or at least given you pause for thought?
PS – Speaking Portuguese is increasingly looking like an asset at Arsenal LOL!
Passionate fifty-something Arsenal supporter who has been making the journey to N5 regularly since the early 1980s – although his first game was in 1976. Always passionate when talking about The Arsenal, Dave decided to send a guest blog to Gunnersphere in the summer of 2011 and has not stopped writing about the Gunners since.
He set up his own site – 1 Nil Down 2 One Up – in February 2012, which he moved on in 2016 to concentrate on freelance writing and building Gunners Town, which he launched with Paul in 2014.
The objective of GT was to be new and fresh and to give a platform for likeminded passionate Arsenal fans wishing to write about their team. Dave still of course, writes for the site himself and advises the ever-changing writing crew.