Cedric Soares identified as top Arsenal transfer target

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is desperate to sign reliable defensive cover in January and is actively pursuing a deal for Sporting Lisbon full-back Cedric Soares.

The 23-year-old has emerged as one of the brightest talents in an exciting young Sporting team and Wenger has taken notice, sending scouts to monitor his progress on more than one occasion.

Soares has been linked with the Premier League before and nearly joined Everton when David Moyes was in charge at Goodison Park, but that deal failed to materialise and now Arsenal are in pole position to sign a player which could cost them a quite staggering €30 million.

Plenty of interest in talented Soares

Sporting have a proven track record of selling academy products for a big profit and unsurprisingly have tied Soares down to a contract that runs until 2016, but as things stand the release clause is only worth €7m.

The Lisbon giants want to change that amid interest from Arsenal, Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen and want to reopen talks over fresh terms that broke down two months ago, with the aim of bumping the termination clause much closer to the €30m mark.

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Strength in depth sorely lacking at the Emirates

Arsenal fans will probably be desperate for proven experienced signings that can make an instant impact in January, and Soares certainly doesn't fit that bill.

The German-born Portuguese youth international has pace and technical qualities though, perhaps a slightly better version of a player already on Arsenal's books in Hector Bellerin.

O Jogo cite a report in the Daily Star with their declaration that Wenger is seriously interested in making Soares his first signing when the January transfer window opens, perhaps a cheaper alternative in terms of salary demands that Juventus star Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Expect Arsenal to be active when the transfer window opens and pushing to make very necessary improvements to a squad that currently looks short of mounting a sustained title challenge, with Soares now on the shortlist of players being tracked over the next two months.

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