Arsenal have been given the green light to complete their second signing of the January transfer window after Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl gave his approval for Cedric Soares to leave the club this month. The Gunners brought in defender Pablo Mari from Flamengo as their first signing earlier this week with Mikel Arteta desperate to strengthen the team's defense.
The Gunners have been left decimated at the back after a spate of injuries to defensive players in the last two months. They have been scouring the market for alternatives, and finally settled on a loan move for Mari, whom they can sign permanently in the summer. Arteta was also keen to bring in a backup in the full back positions and they have identified Soares, who is primarily a right-back but can also fill in on the opposite flank if needed.
Soares, like Mari, will also sign on an initial loan deal with Arsenal said to have first right to sign him permanently when he becomes a free agent in the summer. The Athletic's David Ornstein had confirmed that a deal was close with Arsenal said to have agreed to part with a £5 million loan fee and fully cover the player's wages.
Southampton manager Hasenhuttl has now confirmed that he will leave the club after they signed full back Kyle Walker-Peters from Tottenham on loan until the end of the campaign. The Saints manager admitted that they were keen to retain Soares beyond this season but after it became clear that he was unlikely to sign a new deal, they were open to sanctioning his transfer this month rather than lose him on a free transfer in the summer.
"From our side yes," Hasenhuttl said when asked if Soares' move away will be sanctioned after Walker-Peters' arrival, as quoted on Eurosport UK. "The fact is that he's out of contract in the summer. He is injured at the moment so it will take three or four weeks until he can play again."
"We had a good meeting two days ago. We didn't speak about that. I was very positive with his development of his game in our shape, I could also imagine going longer with him but sometimes things change quickly in football.
"For the club and for him it's best and we say 'Okay, if you want to leave, you only have two or three months on your contract and it's better to go and we are concentrating on developing other players,'" the Saints boss added.