Arsenal have agreed to sign Porto attacking midfielder Fabio Vieira for €35m, with another €5m possible in performance-related allowances, but what type of player are they getting?

Vieira, 22, made 39 appearances in all competitions last season, scoring seven goals and providing 16 assists, while in his career for the Portuguese club he scored 10 goals and provided 18 assists in 76 games.

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After coming through the club’s youth academy, he made his first team debut on 10 June 2020 against Maritimo.

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He has yet to make his debut for the senior Portugal national team, but he is the under-21 captain and has scored 13 goals in 20 games since his debut on November 14, 2019.

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He was named to the Team of the Tournament as the Portugal Under-19 team finished runners-up to Spain in the 2019 UEFA European Under-19 Championship and also starred in the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship winning the best player. as the second place after Germany.

So what can Arsenal expect? We’re digging into the data, as well as asking former scout Thor-Christian Carlsen and Sportzshala Senior Writer James Ollie.

Job title

At 5ft 7in, Vieira lacks the physical size to dominate midfield like his namesake Patrick Vieira did for years at Arsenal. Indeed, his midfield style is very different from the legendary Frenchman.

Vieira played in several positions, including 10th, 8th and second forward. He will typically play center behind the striker(s) or run right into the stronger left foot as shown in his map below.

By numbers

This season, Vieira has an impressive statistic among his Porto counterparts.

*Statistics based on Primeira Liga 2021-22 only.

touch: 1082 (10th)
Passing Accuracy: 82.9% (16th)
Chances are created: 34 (5th)
shots: 46 (6th)
Tackle accuracy 48.3% (6th place)
Expected Goals: 3.68 (6th)
Expected Transfers: 5.00 (3rd)


Quick turns and changes of pace, combined with a low center of gravity, make the attacking midfielder a headache for opponents and entertainment for fans.

When he’s in shape, he can get ahead by outrunning defenders and is dangerous in the final third. His left foot is great, and while he hits hard, he’s also sensitive enough to make well-weighted passes to runners behind the defensive line. – Carlsen.

He was involved in 23% of Porto’s goals in the Portuguese league last season, so he is an attacking threat with an eye for key passing.

However, he can also score himself and is not afraid to shoot from a distance.

How can he improve

Vieira can be a bit selfish and prone to fighting an opponent too many times. Like most other talents who thrive on his technical ability, he can improve his defensive discipline. It is also necessary to ensure a more constant presence throughout the entire 90 minutes. – Carlsen.

In quotation marks

Dušan Fitzel, member of the UEFA technical observers panel who decided who will be the best player in the tournament at the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, explained the choice: “During the tournament, he was a key player in the Portuguese national team. A playmaker who creates many chances. A great link between midfield and attack.”

Manuel Tulipa, Maritimo U23 manager, who coached Porto’s U15, U17 and U19 teams from 2017 to 2020, Maysfootball said: “Fabio Vieira is special because he can see everything with his head down on the ground. He is an assists player who can enter the box, score from mid-range and in dead-ball situations. He has also improved in terms of pressing. orientation.

“But what surprises me the most is how he shows his qualities when many teams use a low block on the field and he can understand what the game requires. These are players who are worth a lot of money.”

Who else was he associated with?

Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham have reportedly been looking for him in the past.

Why are Arsenal interested?

Another attacking midfielder didn’t seem to be a priority for Arsenal this summer, but Porto’s willingness to accept a fee below Vieira’s £50m buyout clause created an opportunity they decided to exploit.

Arteta is keen to add more creativity to the team – and said Sky Sports back in 2020 what the addition of creative players could do for the club, but it already has Martin Odegaard and Emil Smith-Rowe capable of playing at number 10, at number 8 in a 4-3-3 formation or on the left flank. Smith Rowe did it several times last season.

Odegaard’s importance has been highlighted by Arteta’s occasional captaincy at the end of last season, while sources close to Smith Rowe insist there is no sign of him leaving the club – the 21-year-old was subject of interest. from Aston Villa before signing a new deal and so the addition of Vieira looks set to add momentum as Arsenal return to the Europa League next season.

The Gunners streamlined their squad in January without European football and early exit from the FA Cup, which meant they only needed to focus on the Premier League. Arteta tends to target versatile attacking players, and Vieira’s ability to play under the false number 9 offers an intriguing option, in addition to easing the creative burden on Ødegaard and Smith Roe if he operates from his more familiar position. — James Ollie

Can he fit in with the Emirates?

Technically gifted, creative and with excellent first touch and ball control, Vieira seems to be the typical Arsenal attacking midfielder favored by former manager Arsene Wenger.


Based on this, he would have no problem fitting into the team in terms of attack: he can pass with both accuracy and pace to move the ball, and in addition, he has an end product (eye and execution of a killer pass or shot long-distance left foot) and the ability to make line-breaking passes (and run with the ball) against a low-seated opponent.

His experience with set pieces is also an added bonus. How he will deal with defenders in a team where central attacking midfielders may be physically lacking is another question (example: Ödegaard has played the ball much more often (162 vs. 59) and scored more than twice as many goals). defensive bouts (103 to 50) last season compared to Vieira.)

Arsenal are clearly confident that there is still a lot to be done from the Portuguese midfielder, but although he is developing rapidly, he may not be too far from hitting his ceiling. – Carlsen.