Why Arsenal should steer themselves clear of Porto starlet Fabio Vieira

According to claims from Portuguese outlet Record via Sport Witness (h/t Mirror), Arsenal are plotting a raid on FC Porto for highly-rated attacking midfielder Fabio Vieira ahead of the January transfer window. 

As per the report, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is desperate to bring in some reinforcements to help his team climb up the table following a disastrous start to the campaign. Vieira is held in high regard in Portugal and has caught the eye of the North London giants after making his senior breakthrough for Porto.

Profile

A youth exponent of FC Porto, Fabio Vieira represented the club across various age-groups and was a part of the squad that beat Chelsea in the final of the 2018-19 UEFA Youth League.

He made his debut for Porto B in the Portuguese second-tier back in February 2019 before earning his competitive first-team breakthrough against Maritimo in the Primeira Liga last season.

Vieira contributed with 2 goals and an assist in 8 league appearances for Porto last season as the Portuguese heavyweights lifted the domestic title. The youngster has continued to play a bit-part role under Sergio Conceicao this term as well, starting once and making another 6 substitute appearances in the Primeira Liga so far. 

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Gil Vicente’s French midfielder Antoine Leautey (R) vies with FC Porto’s Portuguese midfielder Fabio Vieira during the Portuguese League football match between Porto and Gil Vicente at the Dragao stadium in Porto on October 24, 2020. (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images)

The Portuguese U-21 international recently netted his first European goal in Porto’s 2-0 win over Olympiacos in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.

Vieira is hardly the finished article that Arsenal need

Arsenal continued their poor run of form in the Premier League with a shock 1-0 defeat at home against Burnley at the weekend, leaving the Gunners languishing at 15th in the standings. The North Londoners have already lost 7 out of their 13 league fixtures so far, accumulating just 14 points in the process. 

With plenty of crucial fixtures set to follow before the end of the year, it’s high time for Arsenal to start putting some points on board to avoid getting dragged into an ignominious relegation dogfight. That the Gunners have only managed 10 goals in 12 games on the whole clearly indicates where Arteta should look for reinforcements in January. 

With Nicolas Pepe, Willian, Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all struggling for goals, a new versatile forward should definitely be high on the club’s agenda. Arsenal, though, also need to address their lack of quality in the No.10 position following the omission of Mesut Ozil from the PL squad. 

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FC Porto’s Portuguese midfielder Fabio Vieira celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League group C football match between FC Porto and Olympiakos, at the Dragao stadium in Porto on October 27, 2020. (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Fabio Vieira certainly ticks the box as an exciting young attacking midfielder with plenty of room for development. But he’s not a player who Arsenal need at the moment, with immediate game-changers the priority at the Emirates. 

The Gunners already have a bunch of promising young attackers in the form of Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson. Given Vieira’s lack of experience at the highest level, there are serious doubts over whether the Portuguese starlet would offer anything extra to what Arsenal already have. 

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FC Porto’s Portuguese midfielder Fabio Vieira celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League group C football match between FC Porto and Olympiakos, at the Dragao stadium in Porto on October 27, 2020. (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Verdict

There’s always an element of risk involved in spending big money on unproven young players, so the reported price tag of £27million for Fabio Vieira sounds like a huge gamble for Arsenal.

The Gunners are in dire need some of some creative spark in the final third to improve significantly on their terrible scoring record this season so far. That calls for the recruitment of players with proven pedigree in Europe and Arteta would be better off dropping his interest in the Portuguese U-21 international, at least, for the time being.

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