In Focus: Southampton star is a target for Man City; club could sell if deal is right

According to reports on ESPN FC, Southampton right-back Cedric Soares is said to be interesting Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

What’s the word, then?

Well, Guardiola is looking to strengthen his defensive options during the summer as he looks for an improved campaign next term, and right-back is set to be one of his priorities.

Both Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta look set to leave the Etihad at the end of the season with their contracts running out, and Saints full-back Cedric is said to have caught the eye of the Spanish manager.

Guardiola has also been linked with Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin and Tottenham Hotspur’s Kyle Walker, but knows it could be easier to prise the Euro 2016 winner away from St Mary’s.

Would Saints sell him this summer?

Possibly, yes.

Having signed him for just £5m from Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 2015, if the south coast outfit were to receive a bid of over £20m for the right-back’s services they may be tempted to sell.

It would be a huge fee for the 25-year-old and the club may feel that they can effectively replace him for a lower price.

Is he a key part of the side?

He certainly is.

Both he and Ryan Bertrand on the opposite flank are crucial to the way Claude Puel’s side play, often providing an extra dimension to the attacking play.

He would be a significant loss, but with summer signing Jeremy Pied back in training after a knee injury and the opportunity of receiving a large fee for the Portugal international, they could be tempted to sell in order to boost their summer transfer kitty.

What’s the verdict, then?

It depends on whether Manchester City come calling.

If they do with a sizeable offer, both the club and the player will feel that it is an opportunity that they can’t refuse, but Saints fans would probably prefer that they keep one of their key men in order to have a settled team next term.