​Arsenal have officially confirmed the signing of Southampton defender Cedric Soares on a loan deal until the end of the season.

The deal is expected to set the Gunners back £5m and will put the club in pole position to sign the Portugal international when he becomes a free agent in the summer, with a four-year deal being considered.

​Southampton signed Tottenham defender Kyle Walker-Peters on a similar loan deal on Wednesday, freeing Cedric to make the move to north London.

Confirming the deal, Arsenal technical director Edu said: “Cedric is a defender with good experience of the Premier League, and of course at international level. He is another strong addition to our defensive unit who will provide our squad with quality. 

"I know he is a player who plays with absolute full commitment and energy. We are all looking forward to going into the last stages of the season with Cedric as part of the club.”

The 28-year-old has been a steady signing for the Saints since joining in 2015, keeping the right back spot and helping the south coast side to some impressive Premier League finishes in the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons. He made a brief loan move to Inter in 2019, though the Serie A side opted against making that deal permanent.

Dennis Praet, Cedric Soares

He is, however, currently injured, so won't be immediately available for Mikel Arteta. The defender suffered a foot injury against Crystal Palace and is not expected to return to action for another three weeks. ​Arsenal face Burnley, Newcastle and Olympiacos in that time.

Thankfully for Arteta, Hector Bellerin is still fit and will likely feature at right back in those three games, though injuries to ​Sead Kolasinac and Kieran Tierney will probably see Bakayo Saka fill in on the left for the foreseeable future.

For more from Jude Summerfield, follow him on Twitter!