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Fabio Vieira signs for Arsenal from Porto for $42M

It could be Vieira versus Vieira on Opening Day in the Premier League when Crystal Palace tangles with Arsenal.

Arsenal, once home of current Palace boss Patrick Vieira, has signed unrelated Porto playmaker Fabio Vieira in a deal said to stand at $42 million.

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Fabio, 22, scored six goals and added 14 assists for the Portuguese powers last season. Only Benfica star Rafa Silva posted more assists, and Fabio Vieira played 699 fewer minutes.

He’ll be Arsenal’s new No. 21, and Mikel Arteta has plans for the Portuguese youth international.

“I am very excited that we have identified and signed such a special talent. Fabio is a very creative player that will bring high quality and versatility to our attacking play. We welcome Fabio and his family to our club and are looking forward to starting work with him ahead of the new season.”

What can Fabio Vieira do for Arsenal?

Obviously the assist number is very impressive, especially considering that he wasn’t exactly piling up starts and used as more of a super sub by Porto.

Porto used Vieira as an attacking midfielder or second striker who occasionally played on the left, Vieira also racked up 13 goals for Portugal’s U-21 side.

Will he be used as a striker or winger, or could he keep Emile Smith-Rowe out of the Starting XI (assuming, of course, the Gunners are going to prioritize star Martin Odegaard as a playmaking midfielder)?

The price tag means this is no casual purchase and meant to energize Arsenal from close to Day One, as the fee is around the same as the one that brought Odegaard to North London on a permanent basis after a loan stint.

Then again, it’s not terribly higher than what the Gunners paid Saint-Etienne from William Saliba, and the French centerback has only been able to star on loan in France.

Follow @NicholasMendola