In the four years since Mikel Arteta took charge as the manager of Arsenal, he has seen both success and disappointment in the transfer market. While some signings have proven to be successful, such as club captain Martin Odegaard, others, like Willian, have been labeled as flops. Fabio Vieira, signed from Porto for £34 million in the summer of 2022, falls somewhere in between these extremes.
Expectations were high for the Portugal under-21 talent, touted as a different style of playmaker to complement Odegaard. However, nearly 18 months after his arrival, Vieira has yet to fully convince fans and pundits alike. While he has shown glimpses of brilliance, there have been more instances where he failed to make a meaningful contribution on the pitch.
One notable incident that raised eyebrows occurred in January of the previous year when Arsenal faced Newcastle United at the Emirates. Despite the team’s struggles to break down the opposition defense, Vieira remained on the bench as an unused substitute for the second consecutive game.
Gary Neville, commenting on the situation during the match, pointed out Arteta’s apparent lack of faith in the £34 million signing, questioning whether Vieira would have strengthened the team.
Fast forward 12 months, and Vieira’s situation has not seen much improvement. With just eight league appearances this season, none of which he completed for the full 90 minutes, his impact on the pitch remains inconsistent. His last outing for the club in mid-November ended with a red card during the 3-1 victory over Burnley, and since then, the midfielder has undergone surgery to address a groin issue.
Despite setbacks and the need for recovery, it appears Vieira has yet to win the trust of his manager. With Arteta seemingly reluctant to give him consistent playing time, the jury remains out on whether the £34 million investment in Vieira will ultimately prove to be a successful one for Arsenal.
Gary Neville said on Sky Sports: “Arteta, he looks at £34million Vieira on his bench and doesn’t bring him on, so he doesn’t have faith that he’s going to improve the team that was out there.
“Fabio Vieira cost £34million. Mikel obviously thought he would’ve weakened the side by bringing him on. They do rely on the perfect pass and the thread, they haven’t got full-backs that deliver really good crosses, they haven’t got a midfield player that switches play or plays De Bruyne-style crosses.”