Vieira is back at Arsenal. But, we are not talking about Patrick, their former hard as nails, ball-winning France international. Their latest signing may have the same surname but the similarities end there. In fact, Fabio Vieira is a lot more like Gunners boss Mikel Arteta. The 22-year-old creative midfielder boasts a silky touch and has the ability to unlock the tightest of defences just as Arteta did for the team he now manages and his previous club, Everton. Should Arsenal fans be excited by their latest arrival? Without a shadow of a doubt.
Joining from Porto for £34 million on the back of Brazilian youngster Marquinhos’ arrival from Sao Paulo, Arteta is acting quickly to sort his squad out ahead of the 2022/23 Premier League season. Also on the verge of joining is Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City and he will be a superb addition - but the attention right now is on Vieira, and rightly so.
Box of tricks
The diminutive attacker is like a box of tricks. He made his senior breakthrough just three years ago with Porto and helped the team to the title in 2020/21 with two goals in eight games. Last season he scored six goals in 27 appearances and grabbed 10 assists and it was enough for Arsenal to get out their checkbook for the Portuguese player, considered one of the brightest prospects in the game.
He is yet to be capped at senior level for his country but he’s played more than 20 times for the Under-21s scoring 13 times and he arrives at the Emirates having already won two leagues titles with his former club.
The left-footed player can also play as a second striker and his versatility will come in handy for the Gunners who have been crying out for a creative spark in the team. Technically, he has the skill to ghost past players and he will create chance after chance for his strikers but he will need to improve on the defensive side of his game. The pace of the Premier League is lightning quick and he will need time to get used to this, not to mention the physicality of English football. Standing at just 5 foot 7 inches, Vieira may be bossed about early in his Arsenal career but if he is given time and space on the ball he can be a real threat for Arteta and co next season.
He will be getting the Gunners fans out of their seats just as Patrick did – but it won’t be from any crunching tackles. It’ll be from neat step-overs, stylish twists and turns and one-touch play. He will be able to provide quality in the advanced areas of the pitch with Martin Odegaard and Granit Xhaka operating between the lines and should be able to increase the unpredictability in which the team plays with.
He is good with either feet too and will often switch from the left or right of midfield to give the team additional creative options. The Gunners also have the talented Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe as options to play in attack and they will all blossom further with Vieira pulling the strings.
Patrick Vieira was a force of nature. It’s been 17 years since he left but Arsenal still have not been able to replace him. However, Vieira 2.0 may just fill the void albeit in a totally different way. No wonder Arsenal fans are feeling excited for the new season to begin.