Porto midfielder Fabio Vieira is closing in on a move to Arsenal, football.london understand.
The Portuguese Under-21 international enjoyed an excellent 2021/22 campaign, netting seven goals and providing a further 16 assists across all competitions, resulting in links of a summer transfer to Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Liverpool. However, it is Spurs’ local rivals who have agreed an initial £30million fee with Porto, with £4million of potential add-ons.
Vieira can operate in a number of roles, playing as an attacking no.8 in a 4-3-3 setup, a traditional no.10 and even on the flanks as a wide playmaker. The 22-year-old will add some much-needed depth to Mikel Arteta’s side, who are extremely short of options in the middle of the park – something that cost them in last season’s race to finish in the top four.
READ MORE: Who is Fabio Vieira? The £34m-rated starlet who is ‘flying to London’ to agree Arsenal transfer
But what shirt number would Vieira don if he completes a summer move to the Emirates Stadium? football.london takes a closer look at what numbers are currently available in north London.
Vieira has given the number 50 since breaking into Porto’s first team, a jersey that is currently occupied at Arsenal. He has also worn 23 for Portugal’s Under-21 side, a number that Albert Sambi Lokonga currently wears for the Gunners.
Alexandre Lacazette’s exit means the number nine is available, although that will likely go to whoever technical director Edu decided to bring in upfront whilst 12 and 14 remain free following the departures of Willian and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang respectively.
Numbers currently available at Arsenal (up to 30): 9, 12, 14, 21, 27, 28, 29
The Gunners are also expected to offload a number of first-team players this summer, freeing up additional kit numbers for any incomings. Hector Bellerin, Alex Runarsson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Pablo Mari, Reiss Nelson, Lucas Torreira and Folarin Balogun all spent time away from the club last season on loan, with a number of those now expected to leave permanently this summer, which would mean their jersey numbers would become available.
Second-choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno and club-record signing Nicolas Pepe both struggled for game time last term, with the two Unai Emery signings both heavily linked with a summer move away from Arsenal as well.
Numbers that could become available with likely transfers and/or loans: 1 (Leno), 2 (Bellerin), 11 (Torreira) 13 (Runarsson), 15 (Maitland-Niles), 19 (Pepe), 22 (Mari), 24 (Nelson), 26 (Balogun).
Arsenal fans – how much of a big signing would Fabio Vieira be and will he improve Mikel Arteta’s midfield? Leave your thoughts down below in the comments section below!