Who is Arsenal midfielder Fabio Vieira?

Arsenal have completed the signing of Fabio Vieira after Porto confirmed they had struck an agreement for his transfer.

The 22-year-old, who has been likened to Bernardo Silvalaid on a league-high 14 assists last season and joins for a fee in the region of £34m including add-ons.

“I am very excited that we have identified and signed such a special talent. Fabio is a very creative player that will bring high quality and versatility to our attacking play.” — Mikel Arteta

“Fabio is a player with special qualities who is comfortable with the ball in the final third of the pitch.” – Arsenal technical director, Edu

With Mikel Arteta’s side sitting top of our Season Ticker over the first eight Gameweeks of 2022/23, we assess the Portuguese player’s future appeal – or lack of it – in our latest Scout Report.


THE HISTORY

Season Team Division Apps Goals Assists
2021/22 Porto Primeira Liga 27 6 14
2020/21 Porto Primeira Liga 19 0 1
2020/21 Porto B Liga Portugal 2 4 2 1
2019/20 Porto Primeira Liga 8 2 1
2019/20 Porto B Liga Portugal 2 23 7 3

Above: Fabio Vieira’s league appearances and attacking returns via Transfermarkt


Vieira has spent his entire career playing for Porto and has already won three trophies, including two league titles.

Coming through the club’s youth academy, he made his senior debut with Porto B in 2019/20 and went on to score seven goals in 23 appearances. Those displays earnt him a call up to the first-team squad, where he netted two goals in eight games to help Porto lift the title.

In 2020/21, Vieira made four further appearances for Porto B, scoring twice, before graduating to the first team permanently later that season.

However, it was 2021/22 when Vieira really came to life, as the registered six goals and a league-high 14 assists in 27 appearances as Porto completed the domestic double. In truth, he was in and out of the starting XI but finally became a regular after Luis Diaz‘s departure to Liverpool in January, contributing to 11 goals in his final 12 league games.

On the international stage, he has recorded 13 goals in 21 games for the Portugal under-21 side, for whom he picked up the Best Player award at the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

PLAYING STYLE

“Fabio Vieira is special because he can see everything with his head on the ground. He is a player who provides assists and can enter the area, score in midrange and in dead-ball situations. He’s also improved in terms of pressing orientation.

But what most surprises me is the way he displays his quality when many teams use a low block on the pitch, and he can decipher what the game demands. These are the players that are worth a lot of money.” – Manuel Tulipa, the Maritimo Under-23 manager who coached Porto’s U15, U17 and U19 sides from 2017 until 2020

Vieira has played in a number of positions at Porto and is versatile enough to feature centrally or out wide on either flank.

However, he primarily operates as a second striker a right-sided attacking attacker, where he tends to cut in onto his stronger left foot, as his 2021/22 touch heatmap below shows.

Above: Fabio Vieira’s 2021/22 Season Heatmap, via Sofa Score


His ability to thread well-weighted passes to runners in behind the defensive line is apparent in this YouTube highlights reel, as is his growing reputation for being something of a set-piece specialist.

It’s also worth noting that he isn’t afraid to take on a shot from a distance, with 29 of his 46 goal attempts in 2021/22 arriving outside the penalty box.

Name Mins per goal Mins per shot Mins per shot in the box Mins per shot on target Mins per chance created
Saka 272.8 30.9 41.7 96.8 44
Odegaard 401.6 53 133.9 133.9 37
Smith Rowe 197.1 49.3 65.7 85.7 66
Martinelli 316.5 36.5 43.2 118.7 56
Nketiah 180.4 31.1 41 69.4 69
Vieira 221.5 28.9 78.2 102.2 39

* League only


While it’s worth adding a ‘Primeira Liga’ levy on Vieira’s underlying numbers, he does come out well when comparing his minutes per goal, shot and chance created stats against his new team-mates.

However, as we touched on above, many of his efforts arrive outside of the box, which in turn affects his ability to consistently hit the target.

WHERE VIEIRA FITS IN AT ARSENAL AND IS HE WORTH BUYING IN FPL?

Due to his versatility, Arsenal will be able to use Vieira in a number of ways, but it will be interesting to see how Arteta plans to accommodate his new signing and Martin Odegaard in the same XI, given that they both traditionally thrive in very similar areas of the pitch.

Above: Martin Odegaard’s 2021/22 Touch Heatmap

Arteta told Sky Sports back in 2020 about the need for more creativity in his squad, and Vieira’s addition appears to be adding strength in depth as Arsenal return to the Europa League next term.

Look at the players that we had in the past at this club in those positions. You go back to Cazorla, to Rosicky, to Arshavin when he played there, to Ramsey when he played there, to Mkhitaryan when he came in. Even Jack Wilshere used to play in those pockets all the time.

That is a lot of players who are now not here. We have to renew that cycle. They are a big part of what any squad needs.” — Mikel Arteta

The introduction of five substitutions in 2022/23 also means squad players are far more likely to play a more significant role, while adding another creative player to the ranks could benefit Bukayo Sakawho was heavily relied upon last season and appeared in all 38 Premier League matches.

Obviously, at this point, it’s a bit speculative but it does have the potential to cause Fantasy bosses a few headaches, with Vieira, Odegaard, Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe competing for three positions behind the forward in a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 shape.

Due to that uncertainty around Arsenal’s set-up, a ‘wait and see’ approach is best advised for Vieira, especially given that the more secure Saka is available for those managers looking to tap into the Gunners’ excellent opening fixtures – albeit at a higher cost.

However, a total of 20 goal contributions across the 2021/22 campaign really does show the quality Vieira has in the final third, and he may well be someone we can target in the midfield category further down the line. And by that point, he may also have had a price drop or two – further enhancing his credentials.


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