Arsenal announced Fabio Vieira as their second signing of the 2022 summer transfer window with manager Mikel Arteta gearing up for the 2022-23 season. The Gunners reached an agreement with FC Porto for a fee that could rise to €40 million.
In 39 games for Porto last season, the Portuguese attacking midfielder registered 7 goals and 16 assists to his name (stats via Transfermarkt). Vieira made 18 appearances off the bench, accumulating a total of just under 2000 minutes across all competitions.
Career at Porto
Fabio Vieira is a Porto youth product and has risen through the ranks of the academy since 2008. He won the UEFA Youth League with Porto Juniors in the 2018-19 edition of the tournament. The Portuguese scored the opening goal for his team in the 3-1 victory over Chelsea in the final.
The 22-year-old made his debut for the Porto B team in 2019. One year later, the midfielder earned his first cap for the senior team, as a late substitute in a 1-0 defeat to C. S. Maritimo. In October 2020, he scored his first Champions League goal against the Greek club Olympiacos. Incidentally, this was just the second appearance for the Portuguese in the tournament.
Across three seasons, the player has notched up 54 appearances for Porto in the league. Additionally, the 22-year-old also has 8 Champions League appearances and 3 Europa League caps. However, only 24 of his 65 senior appearances have come as a starter (stats via Transfermarkt), and Vieira has, for large parts, been a bench option for the club.
Porto have alternated between a 4-3-3, 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1 and a 4-2-3-1 this season. Manager Sergio Conceicao has largely utilised the midfielder in the play-making “10” role. However, the Portuguese has also been experimented with in the number 9-role and on both flanks. This versatility will be crucial for Fabio Vieira to garner game-time under Mikel Arteta next season.
Fabio Vieira is primarily left-footed and looks to cut in from the right-hand side. This allows the attacking midfielder more optimum angles to access the opposition goal, or find a killer pass behind the opposition defence.
The 22-year-old relies on his left foot for most passing actions. From the Champions League and Europa League last season, we saw that almost 83% of all his passes were made on his strong foot.
The Portuguese also attempts a lot of shots from outside the penalty area. In the league, last season, 29 of his 46 shots came from outside the 18-yard zone.
The attacking midfielder isn’t a high-volume dribbler. In the league, Vieira averages just 0.8 dribbles per game, with a poor success rate of 47%. However, he makes up for it with his fantastic distribution and creativity. The 22-year-old is adept at creating chances through crosses as well as long balls.
Fabio Vieira also possesses an excellent work rate without the ball. This would undoubtedly be of massive use to Arteta, especially when the Spaniard deploys a higher press.
Role At Arsenal?
Fabio Vieira has been brought in by Arsenal to mostly increase the squad depth, in concurrence with Arteta’s comments last season that he wants an ensemble of 25 players to call upon.
“Both competitions (the Champions League and Europa League) require a much larger squad because the number of games you play is much bigger, so I don’t think it makes a lot of difference (which competition Arsenal qualify for),” Arteta told reporters in April.
“If you can afford it — and we don’t have to do the turnaround in the squad that we’ve had to do — if you ask me what I want, it’s 22 outfield players and three goalkeepers.”
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By the end of last season, Arteta had just 18 outfield players registered with the first-team. Fabio Vieira’s signing represents a step in the right direction. The player offers quality backup for multiple positions. Vieira can play in Martin Odegaard’s playmaker role, or on both flanks. Arteta may even try and experiment with the 22-year-old in a “false-nine” role.
Rate the Portuguese midfielder’s signing between 1-10. Do you think Fabio Vieira could have a prominent role under Mikel Arteta next season? Who else would you like to see at Arsenal before the culmination of the transfer window?
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