Arsenal fans have been asking for ‘the next Vieira’ for years and, finally, they might have him. And whilst their new signing might not be the same sort of player as Gunners legend Patrick Vieira, he does have one striking similarity to the Frenchman – his name.
The north Londoners have signed Fabio Vieira from Porto in a deal worth around £30 million plus £4 million in add-ons.
The attacking midfielder, who signed a five-year contract with the club, had also been attracting interest from the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham. He enjoyed an excellent campaign in the Portuguese top-flight last season, scoring six goals and providing 14 assists.
He has been at the club since he was just eight years old, rising through their youth ranks before establishing himself in the first team over the last few seasons. Standing at 5-foot-7-inches, the nimble midfielder has been wowing crowds at the Estadio do Dragao, as well as for the Portugal youth teams.
He is also represented by super-agent Pini Zahavi, who currently boasts the likes of Neymar and Robert Lewandowski as part of his clientele.
He was named Player-of-the-Tournament at the Under-21 European Championships last year, helping his side to the final, before they lost to Germany.
After winning the award, UEFA’s team of technical observers said, “During the tournament, he was a key player for Portugal. A playmaker who creates a lot of chances. An excellent link between midfield and attack.”
Portugal under-21 boss Rui Jorge added to that after the tournament, stating, “He is a very technically advanced player, but he needs to improve some aspects of his game in order to become a full-fledged player. He knows this and will work on these aspects. Fabio has a great future if he stays fit. I think he wants to be the player he can be. I believe that we can make a great player.”
But where will he fit into the Arsenal team? Vieira can play as a No.10 or as an No.8 and has drawn comparisons to fellow Portuguese star Bernardo Silva, with his good dribbling and eye for a pass.
It could well see him partner Martin Odegaard in Mikel Arteta’s 4-3-3, with Thomas Partey sitting just behind them. Arsenal need another creator to help Odegaard, as well as someone who can score goals, and Vieira is certainly that man, who got a goal or an assist every 87 minutes in all competitions last season.
Fabio Vieira might not be the same sort of player that Patrick once was, but if he has even half of the ability as his namesake, then he’ll be a huge hit at the Emirates Stadium.
- A TalkSport report