Arsenal finally find perfect Bukayo Saka alternative but Edu has fresh £34m transfer conundrum

Arsenal have been waiting nearly two years for Fabio Vieira to show his quality after a long-awaited return to fitness as Mikel Arteta gives a hint as to his future role

Fabio Vieira is in Mikel Arteta plans but perhaps not where most thought as Edu's long-awaited Arsenal transfer plan might finally be fulfilled.

Martin Odegaard is quite simply a world-class footballer and his man-of-the-match performance against Chelsea was yet another example to point to of the Norwegian’s brilliance. Two assists of glorious quality for Kai Havertz and Benjamin White amongst a host of other great passes, touches and movements saw him standout on a great night for the club.

However, there is one glaring reality that exists which could send Mikel Arteta’s squad tumbling out of contention, the potential of Odegaard’s injury problems of the past resurfacing. Throughout the season, he has avoided most knocks and has missed just three games with a combination of a concussion and hip problem.

Emile Smith Rowe and Kai Havertz started in midfield as the Gunners battered Sheffield United 5-0. Whilst Jorginho, Declan Rice and Havertz were the trio for the 1-0 defeat at Newcastle where Odegaard’s absence was sorely felt and the same three started for the 3-1 home win over Burnley before the skipper returned to start every league match after.

The issue this season has been the lack of depth in the attacking right-eight role and that has been mainly down to Fabio Vieira. The Portuguese midfielder was signed to be a competitive option in midfield after a £34million move from FC Porto.

However, injury has plagued his time at the club even arriving in the summer of 2022 with a foot problem which curtailed his hopes of a pre-season integration. This season he has played just eleven times in the league, amassing 291 minutes.

He made a short cameo against Chelsea, coming on for Bukayo Saka and in his restricted stint made an impression. He was spritely and moved the ball well, nearly scoring a brilliant weak-footed effort which narrowly curled away from Chelsea’s left post

“As well when they play Declan, Kai, and Martin or play with Emile as well or Jorgi for sure, he has played some big games and we’ve won some big, big games with him as well, depends on the game and the state, the opponent as well,” he said. “It’s great because everybody feels important as well, that’s something really, really important now.”

There has been plenty of talk surrounding Vieira, his future and what he can ultimately offer. He always threatens to release his potential but obstacles appear to materialise at the worst times.

A big pre-season is ahead for him as the most decisive season of his Arsenal career approaches. He could be the perfect addition to the midfield, just two years after he was actually signed.

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