Vieira was one of our very first summer signings, but we are yet to see him in action following a foot injury which prevented him from taking part in any pre-season action. However, it is hopeful that he will make the journey to Bournemouth this weekend, even if it is just a place on the bench. But, who is the Portuguese international, and what can we expect to see from him?
We signed Vieira, the 22 year old Portuguese international, from Porto in the summer for £34 million. He first broke into Porto’s senior squad in the 2021/22 campaign, although he has been playing at the senior level since the 2019/20 season. Despite his lack of appearances in the first half of last season, he still managed an impressive 6 goals and 14 assists, which was the highest in the Portuguese first division, The Primeira Liga.
Vieira was undeniably vital to Porto’s game plan through his creative abilities, with his strengths including incredible close ball control, successful dribbles, and more importantly, progressive passes to create goal scoring opportunities for his team. He also appears calm under pressure and has an incredibly centre of low gravity, allowing him to move away from opposition players swiftly. These are all signs of a solid addition to our midfield and will blend well with with the qualities of Xhaka and Partey. He also boasts impressive attacking stats, competing amongst the top 5% of midfielders in the world for open play XA. Furthermore, he ranked amongst the best in the world for passing efficiency and key passes, especially those into the penalty area. He will be a vital player for Arsenal, as one of the things we struggled with most last season was scoring goals, a problem now seemingly fixed with the signing of Gabriel Jesus. We also struggled against defensive sides, but Vieira will help us improve with his flexible positioning and helpful build-up play.
Typically, Vieira plays along the right hand side of midfield, which will give us a much needed boost following comments made from our opening two games about the inefficiency of our right-hand side of Martin Ødegaard and Bukayo Saka. He happens to be two footed and can also play as a wide midfielder, meaning he can make direct runs and cut into the box, adding goal scoring opportunities. This kind of versatility will provide the team with an incredible boost in attacking efficiency as he is suitable for almost all attacking positions in the front line. That said, he can also drop back and play defensively when needed, as shown by the infographic below. We can draw upon similarities between Vieira and Ødegaard, such as the technical style and positional play. This will provide good competition and challenge both players to consistently perform at peak levels.
Arteta has already made it clear that Vieira is an investment player for the future, who has the potential to really make a splash in the Premier League after gaining the experience to develop him into a more mature player, with improvements needed in his off the ball work rate. That said, he is already showing leadership qualities as he captained the Portuguese U-21s and was even declared player of the last U-21s Euros. I think we can expect to see him in the early rounds of domestic cup fixtures and potentially during the Europa League group stages, as well as being utilised as a substitute to preserve Ødegaard’s fitness for the bigger games in the Premier League and as we progress in other competitions.
Written by: Abby Goodson @_abbygoodson