FC Porto have just officially parted away with Fabio Vieira. The Gunners will spend €35M + €5M in potential add-on fees to acquire the 22-year-old attacking midfielder, who is en route to London to complete a medical and expected to sign a five-year deal. Vieira scored 6 goals and added 11 assists in 27 Primeira Liga appearances (15 starts) last season, 7 goals and 16 assists in 39 appearances in all competitions. He was named player of the tournament at the 2021 U21 Euros.
Vieira is a left-foot-dominant but capably two-footed central midfielder who can also play as a false nine. He’s very much a pass-first player, although his ability to chip in with a goal here and there is not to be overlooked. His vision is elite. He’s not afraid to try the spectacularly difficult pass and often able to pull it off. His goals + assists per 90 minutes last season was 1.15. For comparison: Bukayo Saka put up .54, Kevin de Bruyne .94, Mo Salah 1.17, Kai Havertz .55, and Son Heung-min .90. Obviously, the Premier League is a tougher competition than Liga Portugal, but you get the idea. Vieira is a talented player who influences attacking moves.
A few stat visualizations gathered from Twitter:
I’m certain Mikel Arteta is still looking to sign Gabriel Jesus and Youri Tielemans. Vieira is an attacking midfielder, not a primary goalscorer, not a left-sided #8, nor a box-to-box player. My expectation is that Vieira will provide competition and time off for Martin Ødegaard as the primary conductor of the Arsenal attack. The Gunners don’t really have another player on the roster like Ødegaard, and he started 32 of 38 Premier League matches. He’ll need the rest, especially with more fixtures on deck this season.
It’s also a generally good practice to buy talented, young players. Vieira fits that bill. Arsenal have a clear plan in place, and they are sticking to it. They are rebuilding the squad by buying pre-prime players and working towards becoming two-deep at every spot on the field. And you can’t go wrong buying a bunch of creative, central attacking midfielders, either. I mean, that worked out pretty well for Arsene Wenger.
Fábio Vieira should be a fantastic addition.
Fábio Vieira’s All 23 Goals & Assists 2021/22: