Having already annoyed Wolverhampton Wanderers once by stealing Marquinhos from under their nose, Arsenal might be set to do the same again. The Gunners are being linked with a gluttony of names this summer, but one name which is believed to now be rising up the list of priorities is Vitinha. The playmaker was on loan at Wolves in the 2021-22 season, and impressed to a degree. However, the 22-year-old has shone for FC Porto in the previous season, playing a vital role as they walked to the league title.
A £35m release fee is in his contract, and most reports in Portugal suggest Arsenal will make the deal permanent. Wolves were believed to have returned to make the deal happen for themselves, but the Gunners are seen as a priority option for the player himself. As such, Arsenal might find themselves landing a player who has already been in English football once yet has taken his game to the next level.
His form for a title winning Porto team was among the most impressive in the league. Other clubs, including Manchester United, are believed to be monitoring the playmaker from afar. The player would be a slight risk, but it is clear that missing out on the UEFA Champions League has hurt Arsenal quite badly.
The previous names being linked included the likes of Ruben Neves. Now, the Gunners probably need to accept that they cannot entice such players with UEFA Europa League football. Instead, they need to re-align their ambitions and look for players, like Vitinha, who want to break into the elite.
Neves is regarded as among the best playmakers in the game today; his arrival at Arsenal would be, frankly, a bit of a pipe dream presently.
Vitinha the first of many project signings this summer
Despite missing out on UCL football, the Gunners are expected to spend big this year. This will include big hires for younger talent like Vitinha. Players who have impressed at big clubs in the B-tier leagues like Portugal are seen as the ideal target. And given the history of success that comes from Portuguese football, it is easy to see why eyes are trained on this league.
Vitinha is a highly exciting player, and someone who very much fits in with the kind of style that one would expect Arsenal to look at. Ambitious on the ball and hard-working off it, he would fit in with the Arsenal setup. There is already a strong combination of Portuguese speaking players at the club, too, making it easier for new signings who speak Portuguese to integrate into the first team.
While Vitinha might be more in the punt than perfection category in terms of signings, he is an exciting name none the less. He grew into form at Wolves and has shone back in Portugal, playing a leading role in an FC Porto team that dominated the Portuguese top-flight and done decent in Europe.
It might not be the superstar names being linked in March or even May, but it is still a highly exciting, coveted player.