Arsenal's £35 million question: Why did Arteta sideline Fabio Vieira?

Arsenal's £35 million question: Why did Arteta sideline Fabio Vieira?

Festus Chuma 12:19 - 26.05.2024

Arsenal's midfield star struggled with form and fitness, leading to limited game time despite a high transfer value.

On the heels of a season filled with unmet expectations and sporadic appearances Fabio Vieira's limited involvement in Arsenal's 2023/2024 campaign has left fans and pundits puzzled. 

The £35 million midfielder, hailed as a promising talent upon his arrival, found himself sidelined under Mikel Arteta's tactical regime, raising questions about the true value of such an investment.

The saga began promisingly enough when Vieira, the former Porto standout, showcased his potential with a series of commendable performances early in the season. 

However, his trajectory took a downturn following a red card against Burnley in November, an incident that significantly altered his course at Arsenal. 

This disciplinary setback seemed to shift Arteta's confidence in the young midfielder, subsequently relegating him to the fringes of the first team.

Compounding Vieira's challenges was a groin injury that sidelined him for four crucial months, a period during which Arsenal's midfield dynamics continued to evolve without him. 

Upon his return to fitness in March, Vieira struggled to reclaim his spot in the starting lineup. 

The end of the season saw him as an unused substitute in 14 of the team's final 17 games, a stark contrast to his early promise.

Sources close to the team, including insights from The Athletic, suggest that Vieira's performance in training during his phased return did not meet the high standards set by Arteta. 

"The love I have received has been amazing, it’s been unbelievable and I’ve never seen this kind of support," Vieira was reported as saying in a different context.

His situation starkly contrasts with that of teammates like Albert Sambi Lokonga, who despite facing similar challenges on the fitness front, earned praise during his loan at Luton and appeared set for a more decisive future away from Arsenal.

Arsenal's midfield reshuffle this summer, with the departure of Thomas Partey and the uncertainties surrounding Emile Smith Rowe and Vieira himself, marks a critical transition phase.

 Arteta's decision to extend Jorginho's contract reflects a preference for experience and reliability over potential, a strategy that may not bode well for Vieira's future at the club.

As the transfer window approaches, the club faces decisions that could redefine its midfield for years to come. 

For Vieira the upcoming months may determine whether his future lies at the Emirates or elsewhere as Arsenal weigh the pros and cons of recouping part of their hefty investment.

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