Fabio Vieira joins The Arsenal

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Fabio Vieira: The view from Portugal

Fabio Vieira arrives at Arsenal

Fabio Vieira became our second signing of the summer this week, when he completed a move from Portuguese giants Porto.

The attack-minded midfielder had attracted the attention of clubs all over the continent after a stellar season at his boyhood club, but it was the Gunners who won the race for the 22-year-old’s signature.

To get the lowdown on our new arrival, we spoke to renowned Portuguese football journalist Tom Kundert, of Portugoal.net, to find out what we can expect from Fabio.

“I think it’s a really exciting signing for Arsenal,” Tom begins. “Without a doubt he’s one of Portugal’s most promising, up and coming talents. He’s very stylish, an extremely smooth operator. In terms of players currently in the Premier League, I’d say he’s similar in style to Bruno Fernandes. Even his physique is similar in a way.

“He’s a really, really potent attacking weapon. For me the thing that makes him stand out as a star is his vision. He is a fantastic passer. He’s one of those players who can spot a pass and you think ‘My god. I didn’t even see that from up in the stands. How did he manage to pick that out?!’ He’s really incisive in the final third, and he’s got goals in him as well.

Fabio Vieira celebrates scoring against Benfica last season

“He's coming off a really good season, his best so far and his first where he has been a regular in the Porto side, who won the league. He contributed significantly to that. If I was an Arsenal fan, I’d be delighted, and here in Portugal, as fans of Portuguese football, we’re excited to see how he does at this stage of his career.”

Voted Primeira Liga Player of the Month for April as Porto stormed to their second title in three years (losing just one league game all season) he finished the campaign with 14 assists and six goals from just 27 appearances. It worked out as an assist every 95 minutes – better than any other player in Europe’s top seven divisions last season.

So where does Tom think Fabio will fit into the Arsenal team?

“He’s left-footed but he tends to play to on the right – last season at least – he cuts in and shoots or picks out one of his fantastic passes with his left foot. He’s a bit of an all-rounder, but definitely more of an attacking midfielder than a defensive one. He can play number 10 as well.”

Although yet to be capped at senior level for Portugal, he’s played more than 20 times for the Under-21s, scoring on 13 occasions. Last June he was named Player of the Tournament as he helped Portugal reach the final of the European Under-21 Championships. He scored once in six appearances, and helped his country see off an England side featuring both Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah in the group stage.

“He’s pretty much the boss of that Portugal Under-21 team,” Tom confirms, “and has been for the last year or so. It’s quite a thing watching him, pointing, telling his team-mates where to go and organising the offensive setup. He does it very effectively as well.

“Portugal Under-21s have got a very talented squad, and their results over the past couple of years have been incredible, winning nearly every game and racking up five or six goals every match. He’s been at the heart of that.

“He’s a little unfortunate not to have played for the senior team yet, because in his position Portugal are spoilt for choice. They’ve got some of the best players in the world there, like Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva. Renato Sanches sometimes occupies that role as well, so that’s the reason he hasn’t broken in yet.

“I fully expect him to do so quite soon, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets himself on the plane to Qatar if he hits the ground running at Arsenal. I’m sure that will be a target of his.”

Fabio Vieira scores against Spain in the European Under-21 Championships

Fabio Vieira scores against Spain in the European Under-21 Championships

Born just outside the city of Porto, he joined the club as an eight-year-old, and has played all his football there, making his first team debut in 2020. So how does Tom think Fabio will cope with a move to London at this stage of his career?

“I think he will be fine. He has been at Porto since he was a kid, but that happens quite often in Portugal – the top talents get snapped up at a young age by one of the big clubs. Dozens and dozens are snapped up every year, and only a very few make it. But people have been keeping an eye on Vieira for a long time. Porto won the UEFA Youth Champions League in 2019, and he was a key part of that side. In fact, people expected him to break into the first team earlier than he did, but he’s always been a top prospect.

“You see it generally in England, that Portuguese people on the whole don’t have much trouble settling in and adapting to a new country. He speaks reasonable English already, so I can’t see any problem there. As I said, for me it looks like a really exciting move – for him and for Arsenal – and we’ll all be watching to see how he gets on in London.”

You can follow Tom on Twitter.

Interview

Fabio I can’t wait to get started

Our new midfielder Fabio Vieira has said he is eager to get going at his ‘new home’ after completing his switch from Portuguese champions Porto.

The 22-year-old attacking midfielder was a regular for his boyhood club, who lost just once all season in the league, contributing 14 assists from 27 appearances, and winning Primeira Liga Player of the Month in April.

His form attracted the attention of Mikel Arteta, and the club moved swiftly to secure the services of the Portugal Under-21 international.

After signing the deal, Fabio sat down with us to discuss the transfer, his style of play and why he chose the Gunners. Read on for the full interview. 

Fabio, welcome to Arsenal! How excited are you to be making this move?

I’m thrilled, of course. This is an important step forward in my career. Arsenal is a huge and historic club, so I’m delighted to be here at my new home.

It all happened very quickly. Could you tell us about the process?

It certainly was a fast process. It was something that I was drawn to. Meeting the people at the club was a real positive for me. I’m loving it here and I’m here to give the team my all.

Which factors helped you make your decision?

As I said, Arsenal is a historic English club. It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world. Everyone knows that Arsenal are a fantastic team. That was one of the main factors behind me choosing Arsenal. I really like the way the team plays and I can’t wait to get started.

Have you had a chance to meet Mikel Arteta yet? What has he said to you? 

I haven’t met him in person yet, but I have spoken to him. He told me he couldn’t wait to start working with me and get to know my family and me.

Can you tell us a bit about your style of play? 

I’m an attacking player who looks to find space between the lines to be able to finish off moves either with assists or by scoring goals. I think those are the main attributes that Arsenal fans can expect from me. I’ll always give my all for the team.

You are known as a creative and attack-minded player. Do you have a favourite goal or performance so far?

No, I don’t have a favourite goal. My three years at Porto were very important for me. People know it’s my club, so they were all important.

What are your strengths and what do you want to develop here?

My strengths are my passing and shooting ability. I think those are my main strengths. As for what I need to work on, I’d say the physical side of my game.

You are a regular for Portugal Under-21s, often alongside Nuno Tavares. Have you spoken to him about signing for Arsenal?

I’ve had the chance to speak to him. He told me a bit about the club. There are fantastic people here who’ve helped me with everything I’ve needed, which is key.

Last season, you faced Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah at the Under-21 European Championships. Do you know much about your new team-mates?

I got to face them at the Euros. They are both quality players. Arsenal have top players and I’m now here to help the team reach its goals.

What else do you know about Arsenal’s history? What do you like about the club? 

I know some very famous players have played here. Some big stars, global legends of the game, such as Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Cazorla and Fabregas. I remember them well. They were players who had so much presence on the pitch.

Are there any current Arsenal players that you particularly admire?

I’m a fan of Bukayo Saka and Smith Rowe, too. I really like the way they play. Odegaard is quite similar to me.

Can you tell us about your life away from football? What are your hobbies and interests?

I’m a home-loving guy. I just like staying at home and I don’t really like going out. I prefer to relax at home with my girlfriend.

Have you been to London much before? What are you looking forward to doing in England in your free time?

I don’t know. I haven’t had the chance to get to know London yet. I can’t wait for that and to begin the new season here. I’ll certainly arrange things to do, enjoy and pass the time.

You are still young to be making this move, do you feel ready?

Yes, I feel it’s the right move in my career. I think it’ll be really good for me and I have no regrets about it. I’m thrilled to be here.

And finally, what are your hopes and ambitions for your time at Arsenal?

I hope we can achieve the goals that have been set out for the season. We all have to be here for one another and to help the club achieve them.

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