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Mikel Arteta may have changed his mind about signing a player from Porto for £34m after key Arsenal decisions



Arsenal signed Fabio Vieira from Porto in a £34m deal last summer and the attacking midfielder has had a quiet start in north London, but that could change.


Think back to Arsenal’s first game of the new year – a goalless draw at home to Newcastle United – and a decision by Mikel Arteta that caused a stir.

Despite struggling to break down a determined defence, the Gunners boss opted to make just one substitution, swapping right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu for Ben White in the second half, when Fabio Vieira notably sat on the bench in a decision made by Gary Neville ON.

“Arteta, he’s eyeing the £34million Vieira on the bench and isn’t bringing him, so he’s not sure he’ll improve the team that was there,” the Manchester United legend said during Sky Sports’ coverage of the match. “They rely on the perfect pass and the wire.

“They don’t have full-backs who make really good crosses, they don’t have a midfielder who changes play or De Bruyne (Kevin) crosses – they always rely on the short moments of play around the box, which to be honest, Newcastle do so well. .. and defending so elastic and compact made things so difficult for them, and they had no other plans off the bench.”

To which Arteta replied thus in the post-match press conference, when asked to explain the lack of substitutions as he still has four available: “We were chasing the goal, we were in a good moment and I didn’t want to make any further changes .”

In the Spaniard’s defence, with Gabriel Jesus and Reiss Nelson on the bench at the time and Emile Smith Rowe not fit enough to return from injury, one of the two attacking options available to him off the bench was under-23 star Nathan Butler. -Oyedeji who is yet to make a senior appearance for the club. The other was Fabio Vieira. Arriving at Arsenal in last summer’s transfer window for £34m, his vision was highlighted by’s Tom Kundert, who also described the midfielder as “a fantastic passer” and someone who is “really decisive in the final third part”, and can contribute with goals.

With those qualities, it came as a surprise that the 22-year-old didn’t play against Newcastle. Furthermore, he would have had every reason to be a little miffed by the decision, especially as he provided an assist to bring down Wolves in the last game before the World Cup break and was a star player in the friendlies leading up to the restart of the World Cup. Premier League season. in December.

But in reality Vieira apparently hadn’t earned enough against Arteta at the time to get the keys to go one point three. In fact, before the Newcastle game he had struggled for consistent playing time in the Premier League – playing just 242 minutes, including a starter and eight substitutes.

However, it looks like the tide is starting to turn for the Portuguese youngster. As Arsenal conceded the equalizer against Manchester City in the FA Cup fourth round just under two weeks ago, they played the full 90 minutes when Bukayo Saka was substituted towards the end.

And was Vieira’s replacement for captain Martin Odegaard against Everton last weekend further evidence that Arteta is starting to have a bit more faith in his summer signing? Admittedly, the attacking midfielder couldn’t help but save a point at Goodison Park, but it’s a positive sign he got the call given what happened a month later. early.