By Sir Hardly Anyone.
- “Reportedly expected to be a transfer target”. Great Arsenal excitement
- Who starts the transfer rumours and why are they inventing more and more?
According to the Guardian Arsenal have signed the 19-year-old Brazilian forward Marquinhos – described by Edu as a “player for the future” – and the more backup goalkeeper Matt Turner from New England Revolution who the media rather think will be the reserve keeper, with Leno leaving the club.
Now transfer number three is on the table (as it were) as the reports come in to say Arsenal have signed or are about to sign, or will sign tomorrow, Porto attacking midfielder Fábio Vieira for an initial £30m with extra payments depending on performance.
He is a Portugal Under-21 international and the report says he is due to have medical on Friday.
Vieira has the advantage of coming to a club with a ready made song (oh oh) and a really positive record of having scored six and assisted with 14 goals in league last season. The only problem is in terms of midfield, where we are already pretty full, which suggests that Arsenal are going to turn him into a striker to play alongside Eddie Nketiah.
So let’s take a look at the player’s record…
Since the 2020/21 season he has played in the Porto side 54 times scoring eight goals while since 2019 he has played in the Portugal under 21 squad 21 times scoring 19 goals. The fee is said to be €35m (£30m) plus add-ons.
It is being reported that his original release clause was €50m but as is common with such release clauses this has been negotiated down. Although he is particularly known as an attacking midfielder he is also used as a second striker. According to the Guardian, “In eight Under-21 European Championship qualifiers between September and April he scored seven times and set up two goals.
In his second appearance in the Champions League (27 October 2020) he scored against Olympiacos in the group stages,. He also played in the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship and was named as player of the tournament,
He started played for the under 21 Portugal side in November 2019, in a goalless draw with Slovenia, but then scored in his next game against Norway.
So he is picking up the awards and the experience, and his signing, if confirmed by Asenal, will show that Arteta is sticking to his policy of signing up young players who can be mouled into his particular style of play.
Last season in the Portuguese league he played 27 games and scored six goals. In the Taca de Portugal, he scored one goal in five games and including the league cup and Continental cup he played 39 and scored 7.
So where does he fit in? Presumably, either as a winger replacing Pepe, or it may be that the manager has a different position for him in mind. And it is always possible that the manager may be making a transfer here or elsewhere to bring in a player who will not only be good in his own right but will bring Pepe back to this standard at Lille.
Indeed we are so used to some commentators sneering at Pepe and at Unai Emery that it is forgotten just how good his figures were before he came to Arsenal.
In the League with Lille he played 38 games in 2018/19 and scored 22 goals – an astonishing achievement. Quite why he could not build on this ability when at Arsenal, I don’t think we shall ever know. But those figures were real and should be recognised which means we will come to decide what happens to Pepe and other players who are now being made ready for transfer out.
Of course we can never be sure until Arsenal confirms the deal, so we will wait, and be patient. But the signs are looking good.
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