Cedric Soares is close to leaving Arsenal for London rivals Fulham, with Marco Silva particularly keen on the right-back.

According to 90min, Fulham are closing in on bringing Cedric Soares to Craven Cottage. The Portuguese right-back is unwanted under Mikel Arteta this season and wants a move away to continue playing regularly at the top level. The Cottagers are the only available suitor for the Arsenal defender.

Cedric Soares enjoyed the most fruitful period in an Arsenal shirt in the second half of last season following Takehiro Tomiyasu’s long injury absence. But he could not help the Gunners finish in the top four despite promising displays.

The Portuguese international began the season with an injury, but Mikel Arteta’s change of plans for the right-back position always meant Cedric would find himself behind in the pecking order when he returned. The Arsenal boss prefers to start Ben White as a right-back, while Tomiyasu is fully settled as the backup option.

Despite early suggestions that Arteta might use Cedric regularly for UEFA Europa League games, the right-back failed to start either of the six group-stage clashes. As the domestic season broke up for the World Cup, speculation regarding the full-back’s long-term future became a subject of intense scrutiny.

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Fulham have shown early interest in signing the full-back, with Arsenal’s London rivals a good destination for Cedric to continue his career. Manager Marco Silva had briefly worked with the right-back at Sporting CP. And after these many years, he intends to take him to Craven Cottage.

Cedric is keen to leave Arsenal to play regularly elsewhere and knows there is no chance of breaking into the current setup unless there is a raft of injuries. He is now close to joining Fulham in a permanent deal, which may guarantee the Gunners a reasonable transfer fee.

Arsenal may not have plans to replace him as they are well-stocked in the area. There were rumours of interest in Spanish youngster Ivan Fresneda. But any move will have to wait until the summer. Arteta remains focused on bringing in a new winger and midfielder, while a potential replacement for Gabriel Jesus is also discussed heavily ahead of January.

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