European giants Barcelona and Juventus are eyeing a summer swoop for 25-year-old Southampton right-back Cedric Soares.
According to a report from The Sun, the Catalan giants are thinking about making a £15 million offer for Soares. They go on to state that the 25-year-old fullback is also a target for Juventus, who are looking to replace Dani Alves, who is set to leave after only 1 year at the club.
Barcelona failed to replace Dani Alves when he left for Juventus last summer and it ultimately proved costly. Aleix Vidal’s exile and subsequent injury meant they had to resort to use Sergi Roberto, who is predominantly a midfielder, as their right-back for a majority of the season.
While the Spaniard gave his best, the Blaugrana will know hey cannot afford a repeat of last season and acquiring a proper right-back must be a priority this summer. With their pursuit of Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin leading nowhere, they have been forced to consider other options.
Juventus perhaps don’t require a right-back as urgently as Barcelona do, with club hero Stephan Lichtsteiner still going strong. But at 33 years of age, the Swiss doesn’t have too many years left at the top level and the Biaconeri will need to plan for the future.
Soares, who has 2 season left on his current contract, has grown to become one of of the Premier League’s best fullbacks since joining Southampton in the summer of 2015. In that time, he has also established himself as Fernando Santos’ first-choice right-back for Portugal.
The German born Soares learnt his trade at Sporting CP’s famous academy, after joining them in the 1999 aged 8. He rose through the youth ranks, before making his debut in the 2010/2011 season after which he was sent out on loan to Académica de Coimbra for the following campaign.
He helped them win the Taca de Portugal that season and returned to Sporting CP the following season and became their first choice fullback for the next three seasons. He would depart in 2015 having racked up 94 appearances, 3 goals and 12 assists to his name.
His impressive performances have also seen him get linked with a move to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. But they are reportedly edging closer to signing Dani Alves this summer and have also been heavily linked with Kyle Walker, so it is unlikely that they will move for Soares at this point.
However, Southampton face yet another difficult summer with top clubs circling St.Mary’s, looking to lure away their best players. With Virgil Van Dijk, Dusan Tadic, Jordy Clasie and Ryan Bertrand being linked with moves away, the Saints will no doubt want to hold on to whoever they can.
They will also need to give new manager Mauricio Pellegrino adequate time to get to know his players before the start of the season and if they do let go of some of their players, they will need to rebuild – which could prove to be another costly and time consuming affair.
Barcelona and Juventus are some of the biggest clubs in all of football at the moment and the opportunity to join a club that regularly contends for the Champions League and other major trophies is surely something that any player would at the very least consider.
At 25, Soares is in the best years of his career and at this point of time and will little to no competition for places in the starting XI at either club. Both clubs can easily afford him and should they make an offer, it will be interesting to see how Pellegrino and the Saints fend off interest for their star fullback this summer.