Cedric Soares has warned Hector Bellerin he is eyeing up Arsenal’s right-back berth as he looks to make up for lost time at Emirates Stadium.
The Portuguese defender was acquired by the Gunners during the January transfer window, and he has since signed a permanent four-year contract.
An opportunity is finally presenting itself to convince Arsenal of his worth after what has been an injury-ravaged spell in north London. Cedric made his debut in a 4-0 Premier League win over Norwich, with his goal account in new surroundings also opened in that contest.
The 28-year-old now has his sights set on nailing down a regular role in Mikel Arteta’s plans, with Spain international Bellerin currently blocking his path.
“It’s healthy competition. I knew Hector from before and we are supporting each other,” Cedric told reporters on the battle he faces to earn competitive minutes. “Right now everyone is getting an opportunity to play. This is what the team needs.
"It’s most important to get the win whoever is playing. I am here to give my best for Arsenal.
“Of course there were moments when you get frustrated and upset [because you are not fit]. I’m the kind of guy that is very very passionate so everything I do in life I try to give 100 percent.
“I came here with all my heart so of course I wasn’t happy with the injuries that happened in training, but it happened because I gave 100 percent and things will happen sometimes.
“How you come back is the most important thing and I have had very good support from all the medical staff, from my colleagues and from the technical coaches.”
Cedric had played for Southampton since 2015, but slipped down the pecking order with the Saints over recent years. He had a loan spell with Serie A giants Inter in 2019, before linking up with Arsenal 12 months later.
He was suffering with a knee injury when he arrived and didn’t feature before coronavirus forced the country into lockdown and suspended the Premier League.
He subsequently needed to undergo a small procedure on his nose following an injury in training.