It's going to be a tough few weeks for Fabio Vieira. Having failed to make the cut for the Portugal squad he stayed in London and joined up with the Arsenal under-21s for their 5-2 defeat to Reading in the EFL Trophy.
However, as his teammates trickle back in to London Colney from their various international ventures Vieira will have to make do with remaining on the sidelines. That's because he is suspended for the next three matches after picking up a red card during the dying stages of Arsenal's 3-1 win over Burnley.
The dismissal proved to be a sobering moment for Vieira whose career is yet to really take off in north London. He arrived last summer almost entirely out of the blue for a fee of £34million, but there's an argument this was to his detriment. The nature of transfer dealings these days mean that fans often have weeks or even months to salivate over impending arrivals. With Vieira there was no such hype.
That combined with a pre-season foot injury, meant that his presence at Arsenal passed somewhat under the radar. When he eventually got up and running though, Mikel Arteta was more than happy to give his summer signing the top billing.
"We were looking for players that could play in three positions in the frontline and in the attacking midfielder positions," he said. "We were looking for very specific qualities in the market and when I saw him, I really liked what I saw.
"Straight away, I was convinced that he was a player who can help us go to the next level and that he had the right personality and character to play for our club. It’s a shame that we detected an injury when we were doing the medical. He had no pre-season and everything has been delayed, but hopefully you’re going to see a lot more of him in the next few weeks, and I’m sure that you’ll enjoy it."
Sadly that never truly materialised. Vieira has shown flashes of the brilliance that caused Arteta to speak so highly of him, but with stunted runs in the team he has never really threatened to become a regular first team starter. Add into that the return of Emile Smith Rowe, the fact that Martin Odegaard is club captain and the £65million signing of Kai Havertz, and it's hard to see that changing any time soon.
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There have been some rumours now that he could be on his way out. Reports have suggested that Marseille are keen on bringing in the 23-year-old this January.
Now though is not the time to move Vieira on. He has shown during games against Everton and Fulham earlier this season, that when he is confident, there is a player in there who can be a real difference-maker for Arsenal. The 23-year-old probably isn't going to become a first team regular, but there is certainly still a role for him to play as Arsenal look to win the Premier League and Champions League this season.
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