Arsenal have likely completed their January transfer business following the arrivals of Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares from Flamengo and Southampton respectively and Mikel Arteta praised both the players during his press conference on Friday. The Gunners were desperate to strengthen in defense and with the lack of funds at the manager's disposal both players have arrived on initial loan deals.
Arteta was keen to sign a left-footed center back to bring balance to the backline and had recently resorted to pushing Granit Xhaka to the back in recent games despite the Switzerland international starting games at midfield. The Spaniard believes Mari's arrival will help him execute his ideas better, especially when it comes to beginning plays from the back.
"For me [Mari] is very important. He balances what I want to do from the backline. He gives us more options and solutions, he opens up the pitch more," Arteta said during his press conference, as quoted on Sky Sports. "Again, he's a player we have been following for the last few months, one that we are happy to have."
"I'm happy for two reasons, we believed we could strengthen the team a bit in some areas with the financial situation that we have. But four weeks ago, I was very concerned with some of the probable departures - we've been able to manage that so far," he added.
The second player to arrive was Soares, who signed from Southampton on deadline day. He has been brought in to shore up the full-back positions with Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac out injured at the moment. The Portugal international is primarily a right-back but can also fill in on the opposite flank if needed.
Arteta believes Soares' experience in the Premier League having played over 100 games for Southampton will come in handy going into the rest of the campaign. He praised the Portuguese right-back's commitment and desire for wanting to join Arsenal and revealed that he has followed the defender's career in the past.
"[Soares] has big experience, he has played in different countries, he knows what it means. He was very willing to go to another top club, he has the desire and the commitment. I followed him a few seasons ago and I really like what he can bring. There were the right conditions for us as well to try to improve the squad," Arteta said.