Arsenal have been busy this January, on and off the pitch. Victory over Southampton on Tuesday was as enjoyable as it was necessary, added to by the loan signing of Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid until the end of the season.
Announcing the Norwegian’s temporary arrival with supporters still gleaming from ear to ear after the previous night’s excursions capped off what’s been an excellent month for the club, one only tainted by a limp exit from the FA Cup.
There have been three permanent departures from north London for players who weren’t earning any playing time, as Matt Macey, Sokratis and Mesut Ozil all bid farewell to the club in some capacity.
Arsenal’s transfer business is one position away from being complete
Mat Ryan comes in as smart backup for Bernd Leno, with Odegaard set to play a key role in supporting the other attacking players in the squad and fighting for a place in their stead. Even just as cover, both are wise acquisitions.
Which leaves just one space left to fill: left-back.
After watching Cedric Soares play his best game for the club in that position against the Saints, maybe it isn’t as essential as originally thought? With Kolasinac gone there is a space to be filled which Cedric has shown himself capable of filling.
The above is true but also based off a sample size that doesn’t account for different opponents, injuries, fatigue and balance. Take nothing away from Cedric, his performance was superb, but the game suited him tactically.
Kieran Tierney is the only left-footer who can play that role, one Bukayo Saka, while adept, should be nowhere near. He provides the natural width, balance and technical ability needed to fulfill both aspects of the position on that flank.
What Cedric has gladly evidenced is that a new left-back is not essential. However, just because it isn’t of paramount importance doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be explored and acted upon if possible.