Arsenal are ready to push on under Mikel Arteta after signing Porto midfielder Fabio Vieira. After missing out on the top four, it was always going to be important for the Gunners to continue to develop and try to return to the Champions League. This is certainly a statement of intent that the club want to compete at the highest level. Vieira is thought to be one of the best talents in Portugal and at the age of 22, he is the correct age profile to develop with the rest of the squad at the Emirates Stadium.
Vieira had an excellent 2021/22 season, contributing six goals and 14 assists in just 1329 minutes. The 22-year-old averaged a goal contribution every 66.45 minutes. It is a smaller sample size, but it underlines his quality in the final third. Arsenal are signing him for his potential more than his current ability. However, he should be able to make an immediate impact and offer competition to the attacking midfield positions.
It will be interesting to see how he fits in at Arsenal. Vieira’s best position is as the number ten. In his nine starts in the Portuguese league, he contributed three goals and nine assists. The issue for Arteta is that this is also Martin Odegaard’s best position. The pair should be able to fit into the same team, but it will be an interesting dynamic. Emile Smith Rowe is another competing for that role, although he has developed nicely into a wide option.
As a creative midfielder, comfortable when operating in tight spaces, Vieira does seem tailor-made to play in an Arteta team. He is capable of beating opposition defenders with skill, while his understanding of space is very good for a player with his level of experience.
One problem for Vieira will be the physicality of the Premier League. He stands at 5’6″ and it could be a difficult transition initially. It is likely that he will be eased into first team action. There is no need to rush him into the first team, as Arsenal have plenty of good options to fill the attacking midfield roles.
The best part of the midfielder’s game is his creativity and passing in tight spaces. However, he has been a prolific shooter during the last 12 months and Arteta will want to add more goal threat to his front line. That will preferably come from a new striker signing, but Vieira will add another avenue for goals. He averaged 3.12 shots per ninety last season.
Despite his impressive goal and assist returns, there is a feeling that Vieira is still a player for the future rather than now. He will be able to contribute immediately, but he is unlikely to arrive as a guaranteed starter. The Arsenal squad is a small one though, therefore it was important for the squad to get deeper this summer.
As a new signing, Vieira is perfect for Arsenal. He fits into the profile of player that has traditionally performed well in North London. The 22-year-old can immediately offer a rotation option and he has the potential to grow into an important first team starter.
Stats taken from Whoscored