Arsenal recently announced their 25-man squad for the Champions League group stages, with outcast Cedric Soares a surprise inclusion.
The 32-year-old had been frozen out and expected to leave this summer, but is now in the plans under Mikel Arteta despite years of underwhelming performances on the pitch.
Jurrien Timber and Thomas Partey have picked up injuries, whilst there were a number of other departures in defence with no further incomings, and Cedric’s return to the fold has now highlighted a mistake Arsenal made in the transfer window.
Arsenal have just six senior defenders available not including Cedric: Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Jakub Kiwior and Oleksandr Zinchenko. Partey started the season at right-back before picking up an injury, and Timber is now set to miss most of the season.
Despite this, the club decided to loan left-back Kieran Tierney to Real Sociedad. The 26-year-old was once a crucial player under Arteta, but found himself falling down the pecking order.
Arsenal should have kept or replaced Tierney
Despite his lack of minutes last season, Tierney is still a fantastic defender, and is certainly a better player than Cedric.
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Arsenal’s lack of action in the transfer window, in not selling Cedric and loaning Tierney after Timber’s injury has left them short at the back, and they will not want to be in a position where Cedric is needed on the pitch.
Cedric is essentially the seventh defender in the squad now, and is just one injury from making a matchday squad for the first time this season.
Tierney would have been a far better backup option to have, and one that the team could have relied upon without losing much quality. If his departure was inevitable, Arsenal should have replaced him.
The Gunners have now been linked with a January move for Nahuel Molina, and perhaps this is a sign that Arteta has realised that he cannot rely upon Cedric in the Champions League.