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Manchester United interested in Southampton full-back Cédric

The 26-year-old could be Antonio Valencia’s long-term replacement.

Southampton v Chelsea - Premier League

Manchester United could made a summer swoop for Southampton right-back Cédric Soares, according to a report in the Manchester Evening News on Thursday. Notwithstanding the Saints’ dire Premier League campaign, José Mourinho has apparently taken a shine to his compatriot, and reckons he could be the long-term heir to Antonio Valencia’s throne.

Cédric still has a couple of years left on the contract he signed in 2016, a year after first arriving from Sporting Lisbon. Over the last couple of seasons he’s been a fixture in the starting lineup at St. Mary’s, and has also established himself as one of the first names on the teamsheet for the Portuguese national side — including throughout their victorious Euro 2016 campaign.

At 26, he’s unlikely to ever establish himself as a world beater, and signing a player from a club heading for relegation is sure to raise eyebrows. Such rumours are perhaps indicative of the fact that there aren’t too many obvious options at right-back: United have previously been linked with a move for Arsenal’s Héctor Bellerín and Real Sociedad’s Álvaro Odriozola, neither of which inspires too much confidence. Any better ideas?