Arsenal legend Paul Merson recently gave a scathing verdict on Portuguese midfielder Fabio Vieira, saying that the 23-year-old isn’t good enough for the Gunners.
Vieira joined Arsenal last summer for £29.9 million from Porto. The attacking midfielder was largely a bench player as he adjusted to the Premier League, scoring two goals and providing six assists in 33 appearances across all competitions.
The former Portugal U21 international has impressed Mikel Arteta this season and forced his way into the starting XI ahead of summer signing Kai Havertz. Vieira has looked comfortable on the ball and has been an outlet of creativity so far, providing two assists in six appearances.
Vieira has started Arsenal’s last two league games, including their 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend. However, Merson was far from impressed with the Gunners’ performance and lamented Mikel Arteta’s decision to start Vieira.
He said on Sky Sports (via METRO):
“I was so confident that Arsenal would win on Sunday but when I saw the teams, I was majorly worried. Jesus on the wing, [Eddie] Nketiah up front, Vieira – I don’t think he’s good enough. Then Declan Rice comes off and Jorginho comes on.”
“It wasn’t Arsenal’s strongest team but when you think about the Champions League and all the games they have to play, it looked a bit weak on Sunday, didn’t it?”
Fabio Vieira will be aiming to impress for the Gunners in their upcoming fixture against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, September 30.
Paul Merson believes Arsenal should sign Ivan Toney in the January transfer window amid injury concerns
Paul Merson recently emphasized the importance of Arsenal signing Ivan Toney in the January transfer window to challenge for the Premier League title.
Mikel Arteta and Co. have been dealt various injury issues in attack with Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Leandro Trossard currently all on the sidelines. They have Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah to deputize but the former is injury-prone, while the latter isn’t a consistent No. 9.
Merson believes the Gunners should move to sign Brentford’s Ivan Toney in January. The 27-year-old is banned from all football activities until January 17, 2024, due to gambling offences.
He said (via METRO):
“It’s alright sitting there and thinking ‘they need a centre forward’ – but who is there? Only Ivan Toney is available for them in January – there aren’t many centre forwards around in the world. They’re a dying breed.”
“Years ago you had Michael Owen, Alan Shearer, Teddy Sheringham and Robbie Fowler were getting 20 to 30 goals a season and they didn’t get a million England caps. Ian Wright and Les Ferdinand too. Now you get to 20 goals in the Premier League and you play for England.”
“Toney is a good player – he can hold the ball up, he’s good in the air. Arsenal might have to go for him. But there are not a million centre forwards around.”
Toney has scored 32 goals and provided nine assists in 66 Premier League appearances for Brentford. He is likely to be a stellar signing but the Gunners will need to move fast with Chelsea reported to be interested in signing the England international as well.