Arsenal Mikel Arteta Martin Odegaard Fabio Vieira | Football | Sport

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But according to Football.London the return to senior training for Vieira, 23, is imminent. That follows him travelling with the squad to Dubai last month, a trip that has seemingly paid dividends for the Gunners given they’ve taken a maximum 12 points from four games since landing back in the UK.

That prompted cautious optimism from Arteta. And the Spaniard explained in a media conference that he envisaged the £34million signing from Porto returning in the near future.

“He’s doing well again, but it was a surgery that required two different things to get results,” he said. “The first signs are good, obviously he is still a bit far from where we want him, but he needs to keep working and hopefully in the next few weeks we can have him.”

And his seemingly imminent return is a very timely one for Arsenal. The first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie takes place at the home of his former club in Porto next Wednesday, sandwiched in-between league games at Burnley and home to Newcastle as the title race heats up.

Furthermore, Vieira provides a crucial alternative to Arteta to club captain Martin Odegaard. The Norwegian has become a pivotal player to his side, but after being named in the 2022/23 PFA Team of the Year and continuing to impress thereafter, has been closely marked by opposition teams in this campaign.

Vieira’s attacking nature therefore, could potentially add an extra dimension to Arsenal whether it be in the starting XI or off the bench. He made 33 appearances in all competitions last season, and despite only scoring twice was deemed a vital squad player to the eventual Premier League runners-up.

Arteta has also been missing Thomas Party since he picked up a thigh injury in October. The Ghanaian midfielder was reported to be nearing a return last month, before suffering a setback in his rehabilitation work.

Despite being linked to a host of attacking players, the north London club declined to make any January signings. Having spent more than £200million in the summer, Arteta’s hands were tied by FFP restrictions, a notion which appeared to scupper ambitions to sign the likes of Ivan Toney.

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