Confirmed: John-Jules joins Ipswich Town on loan

Arsenal have confirmed that Tyreece John-Jules has joined Ipswich Town on loan for the 2022/23 campaign.

The England under-21 international moves to Portman Road in the hope of kick-starting his career at senior level following last season’s injury-hit spells with Blackpool and Sheffield Wednesday.

The striker is no stranger to League One having also featured for Blackpool and Lincoln City in the last couple of years.

Reflecting on the move, John Jules said: “The way that Ipswich play suits me. The style of play was an important decision for me as a loan player.

“I’ve played in League One before so hopefully I’ll get used to it quickly and score some goals for the team.

“Last season was one of my worst with the injury but I’m hoping I’ll bounce back this season. I’m back fit now and ready to get going.”

The Gunners are set to loan out a whole host of Academy graduates before the transfer window closes.

Omar Rekik and Harry Clarke have already joined Sparta Rotterdam and Stoke City respectively, Mika Biereth is due to sign for RKC Waalwijk and Miguel Azeez is being linked with clubs in Spain.

Excited Edu hoping to give fans “some good news”

Despite the disappointing end to last season, the vibes coming from Arsenal this summer are positive.

Two contract renewals have been completed, two new signings have been confirmed and supporters are excited by the names being linked as additional reinforcements.

Internally, there is also enthusiasm. Off the back of this week’s capture of Porto playmaker Fabio Vieira, technical director Edu has a feather in his cap and appears confident the Gunners, working to a long-standing plan, are well-placed to make further inroads in the transfer market.

“We are really happy to do what we are doing and looking forward to finishing the window, the way we planned it,” he told Arsenal.com.

“We as a club here internally are very, very excited to go and to keep going for the summer. I think we prepare very much well the strategy to go to the summer. There’s still something to do and we’re excited to keep going.”

He added: “What I’m always trying to say is that there are so many people working for one signing. We are working really hard because we have a lot of people around it.

“We have the guys from the scouting side, the analysis, the data, we have our CFO, we have our legal team, we have our CEO and we have our board. We have a lot of people engaging to make signings happen.

“When we faced this summer as we face it, we are really, really prepared to do almost everything as we did with Fabio [Vieira]. That’s why we move quite quickly because everybody’s really engaged, everybody is really focused to make the things happen.”

In the coming days, Arsenal will confirm the arrival of US goalkeeper Matt Turner and seem set on testing the resolve of Manchester City and Leeds United with new bids for Brazilians Gabriel Jesus and Raphinha. The likes of Youri Tielemans and Lisandro Martinez also appear to be on the shopping list.

“We have to go to the market and sign exciting, exciting players with the right age, right attitude, right mentality,” said Edu.

“We want to see a club like Arsenal with a young squad, an exciting squad with a big, big future. As I said last summer, the idea to have a young squad is to give them an opportunity to play together for two, three, four, five, six seasons together.

“We still have a lot to do, but we are really excited to start the season with the players that we targeted and the players we want to sign, as well.”

He ended: “I’m quite excited, I think we have some good conversations and positive conversations to be fair. I hope we can give to the fans some good news.”

Fabio Vieira – Data Viz

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Fabio Vieira has become Arsenal’s first major signing of the summer after his €35m arrival from FC Porto.

His arrival will provide much-needed depth and competition in creative midfield – an area severely lacking in numbers last season. Only Norwich gained fewer points from losing positions, as Mikel Arteta had virtually no other options that could come off the bench with the ability to find a killer pass or score a goal to change the outcome of a game.

Vieira made his first competitive appearance for Porto in 2020, and was named Euros U21s player of the tournament last summer. However, it was this past season the youngster truly made his breakthrough – providing 6 goals and 14 assists in just 15 starts in the Primeira Liga (27 appearances in total). He spent the majority of those minutes playing as an attacking midfielder. However, the playmaker also regularly slotted in as a second striker and spent time out wide, and deeper in central midfield.

Positions aside, his pass-reception heat map below depicts a player given licence to roam, who looks for the ball in the second phase of play but who excels in picking it up in and around the penalty area. While the left-footer tends to occupy the right half-space, he’s equally adept across the pitch and will offer the versatility Arteta craves.

In the centre of the field, Vieira frequently moves into gaps between the opposition’s midfield and defence to make himself available. This, combined with the way he uses the ball and the types of passes he makes, makes him an exciting addition. His passing range (as shown by the pass radar, bottom right) is diverse, indicating a preference for longer, more difficult passes.

In possession, the new recruit has the tools to not only recycle the ball well (83% of his 16.1 passes per 90 played last season found a teammate), but also to advance his team up the pitch (6.8 of those passes per 90 were deep progressions – illustrated in the top right).

His creative tendencies are further displayed in the Expected Threat visual below – a metric that shows how much players’ actions in possession increase their chances of scoring. Vieira ranked 3rd in the Primeira Liga amongst all midfielders with 700+ minutes, demonstrating his ability to play threatening passes and move his team closer to the opposition goal.

In terms of actual goal contributions per 90 minutes played, the Portuguese impressively ranked first across the Big Five leagues plus the Primeira Liga. While those numbers outperformed his underlying metrics, it comes as little surprise given he made 14 assists from just 34 chances created. That said, Vieira’s numbers are still promising and indicate an exciting acquisition with bags of potential to improve.

Vieira made around 2.1 key passes per game (Martin Odegaard led Arsenal last season with 2.3), averaged 1.9 per 90 open-play passes into the box (Odegaard led Arsenal with 1.9) and played an impressive 0.8 through balls per 90 (Odegaard led Arsenal with 0.3).

He looks proficient in front of goal, especially from mid to long range. Vieira isn’t blessed with natural power but demonstrates excellent shot placement. This ability enabled him to score six goals from 3.69 xG, firing off 2.8 shots per 90.

Adding a profile who excels in these qualities will reduce the over-reliance on Odegaard and Bukayo Saka, while also providing genuine competition who will challenge for the first team straight away.

The best teams don’t have backups; instead, they rotate players. Acquiring quality footballers who push for minutes rather than being a last resort will address the problem of throwing players into high-pressure games who haven’t played in months at the business end of the season.

To summarise, Arsenal are bringing in an advanced playmaker who enjoys not only having the ball, but also creating and finishing chances. He’s technically gifted and boasts a strong, weaker foot that aids his versatility.

Having just turned 22-years-old, Vieira’s age profile perfectly matches the recruitment policy and while player development isn’t always linear, you’d expect the youngster to grow under the tutelage of Arteta.

If Arsenal are to improve on last season’s 5th place finish, the club needs to add footballers with the ability and potential to bridge the gap between the first-choice players and their backups, and Fabio Vieira fits the bill.

Follow me on Twitter @jonollington

Fabio Vieira: By the numbers

Let’s take a look at the numbers for Arsenal’s newest signing, Fabio Vieira, announced earlier today.

Vieira is a 22-year-old midfield/attacking midfielder from Porto. Last season he was a bit of a utility man for the Portuguese champions, having played 50% of his minutes in midfield, 35% in attacking midfield, and 15% as a forward. He looks a lot like a modern hybrid player able to do a bit of everything but basically, he is a creative midfielder and for the stats that follow he will be compared to other midfielders (with the grain of salt needed that he played a bit further forward than typical).

Attacking Stats:

1.7 – Open play shots per 90, 94th percentile for midfielders

0.24 – Non-penalty expected goals, 97th percentile for midfielders

0.39 – Non-penalty goals per 90, 99th percentile for midfielder

Vieira took a good amount of shots for a midfielder (about average for an attacking midfielder) but was very good at finishing the shots that he took.

1.68 – Open play key passes per 90, 97th percentile for midfielders

0.4 – Expected Assists per 90, 99th percentile for midfielders

0.9 – Assists per 90, 99th percentile for midfielders

 

Vieira had 14 total assists but the graphic above only counts ‘intentional’ passes. Overall that is still a very impressive total, but again one where he significantly overperformed the expected values.

3.8 – Passes completed into the box per 90, 98th percentile for midfielders

4.9 – Progressive passes completed per 90, 86th percentile for midfielders

5.2 – Deep completions (within 25 meters of the opposing goal) per 90, 99th percentile for midfielders

One of Vieira’s strengths is his passing, especially his passing that gets the ball into dangerous locations. His pass completion numbers are just okay 82.9%, but that obscures that he tries a lot of very hard passes and completes them at a very high rate. I have a metric called expected passing that tries to measure the average completion rate for every pass and uses that to judge how good a player is at passing, on this measure Vieira comes out looking exceptional. Below are all his passes attempted that had an expected completion rate below 70%.

He attempted 107 of these passes and completed 71 of them, which is a 66.3% completion rate compared to 51.6% expected completion rate. That is ridiculously good for passes with this much value.

Ball progression

5.4 – Final third entry passes completed per 90, 76th percentile for midfielders

2.5 – Final third entry carries per 90, 91st percentile for midfielders

5.4 – Final third entry passes received per 90, 95th percentile for midfielders

1.4 – Dribbles completed per 90, 78th percentile for midfielders

5.8 – Progressive carries per 90, 88th percentile for midfielders

Ball Winning

2.4 – Tackles attempted (adjusted for Porto’s possession) per 90, 11th percentile

1.6 – Successful tackles (adjusted for Porto’s possession) per 90, 18th percentile

39.6% – Tackle success rate, 33rd percentile

0.8 – Interceptions per 90, 15th percentile for midfielders

0.8 – Blocked passes per 90, 33rd percentile for midfielders

4.9 – Ball recoveries per 90, 9th percentile

0.5 – Aerial duels won per 90, 19th percentile

44.4% – Aerial duel win percentage, 41st percentile

Final thoughts

Vieira looks to be an exciting player with impressive statistics. The statistics should probably be taken with a bit of skepticism, however.

First, is that he played in several different roles and that can skew things (most notable here is that it probably boosts his attacking numbers and pushes his defensive numbers down).

Second, he is moving from Liga NOS to the Premier League. Liga NOS is not a bad league, it is the 6th strongest according to Club Elo but it has a very heavy tilt towards having 4 good teams, 1 okay team, and then a bunch of teams that would be on par with mid-table Championship quality.

With that out of the way, I still think that this is an exciting (but certainly not a sure thing) type of move. He should have the luxury of not having the pressure to step right into the starting elven right away if he proves not to be ready. My expectations are that he is being signed to bolster the rotation options for the team, most notable Martin Odegaard who doesn’t have a like-for-like replacement on the bench.

Vieira will likely start as a rotation-type option, giving depth and options to mix and match across the attacking line and midfield (probably against select opponents or when chasing the game). His fee (in recent terms) is in line with that sort of role and I think that he will probably see a step back in his stats with the change of league. That still leaves a signing with the potential for very high upside and brings back a bit of the diminutive player maker that the team used to stockpile for fun.

@oh_that_crab

Sources: Opta, my own data base

Vieira “thrilled” as he completes fast move to Arsenal

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Fabio Vieira says he’s thrilled to join Arsenal after sealing a move to Emirates Stadium in double-quick time.

While the Gunners have been keeping close tabs on the Portugal under-21 international for some time, only last week did our interest in the player surface.

By that point a financial agreement with Porto – confirmed to be a €40 million package – had already been struck, paving the way for a medical, a tour of the training ground with technical director Edu and his unveiling.

He also sat down with the club for a quick interview.

“I’m thrilled, of course,” he said after penning his five year deal.

“This is an important step forward in my career. Arsenal is a huge and historic club, so I’m delighted to be here at my new home.

“It certainly was a fast process,” he added. “It was something that I was drawn to. Meeting the people at the club was a real positive for me. I’m loving it here and I’m here to give the team my all.

“Arsenal is a historic English club. It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world. Everyone knows that Arsenal are a fantastic team. That was one of the main factors behind me choosing Arsenal. I really like the way the team plays and I can’t wait to get started.”

As to what supporters can expect from him, Fabio continued: “I’m an attacking player who looks to find space between the lines to be able to finish off moves either with assists or by scoring goals. I think those are the main attributes that Arsenal fans can expect from me. I’ll always give my all for the team.”

Clearly chuffed to have secured the signing of a player who was voted the best at last summer’s under-21s European Championships, Mikel Arteta said:

”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.”

Edu added: “We’re so pleased to have completed the signing of Fabio from FC Porto. Fabio is a player with special qualities who is comfortable with the ball in the final third of the pitch. We are all looking forward to working with him and enjoying his future contribution to Arsenal. We will now continue to work hard and are looking forward to finishing this transfer window as strongly possible.”

Confirmed: Arsenal sign Fabio Vieira from Porto

Arsenal have completed a deal with Porto for attacking midfielder Fabio Vieira.

The 22-year-old joins the Gunners for a fee of €35 million (plus €5 million add-ons) after  technical director Edu negotiated a price below the player’s €50 million release clause.

Including his senior debut for Porto, just over two years ago, Vieira has racked up 76 appearances, scoring 10 goals and making 18 assists. The numbers are impressive and all the more so when you consider he’s averaging just 37 minutes on the pitch so far.

Well aware that Arsenal are not scoring enough goals at the moment, we assume manager Mikel Arteta views his new recruit, who can also play as a second striker, as someone who can unpick opposition defences. In so doing, Vieira should help share the burden placed on Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard.

Vieira is Arsenal’s third signing of the summer after 19-year-old Marquinhos, who joined from Sao Paulo, and American goalkeeper Matt Turner, for whom a deal was struck in January with MLS franchise New England Revolution.

The new boy will sport FABIO VIEIRA on the back of his shirt alongside the number 21, a number previously worn by Calum Chambers, Lukasz Fabianski, Mart Poom, Jermaine Pennant and Tomas Danilevicius.

Arsenal Women Arsecast Episode 46: The commentators and the author

Welcome to a brand new episode of the Arsenal Women Arsecast, the number one podcast about Arsenal Women.

In this episode, Tim talks to BBC Commentator and BT Sport, Amazon Prime and BBC co-commentator Lucy Ward about how they got into the profession, the skills they have needed, acquired and developed and the differences between working on a WSL game and a Premier League game- particularly when it comes to research. In part two, Tim chats to the Guardian’s Suzy Wrack about her new book, A Woman’s Game- The rise, fall and rise again of women’s football, which is out now.

You can order Suzy’s book here

You can follow Robyn on Twitter @robyniocowen and Lucy @lucyjward

You can follow Tim on Twitter @Stillberto

If you are a regular listener via iTunes, if you would be so kind as to leave a review/rating that would be greatly appreciated.

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Defenders Rekik and Clarke complete loan moves

Arsenal have confirmed that Omar Rekik and Harry Clarke will spend next season on loan at Sparta Rotterdam and Stoke City respectively.

Rekik moves to Holland, the country of his birth, to get valuable playing time as he looks to consolidate a place in Tunisia’s squad for the upcoming World Cup. It’s been reported that he will be guaranteed playing time at senior level, something he’s struggled for at the Emirates.

On completing the signing, Rotterdam’s technical director Gerard Nijkamp told his club’s official website: “Omar is well regarded as a talent at Arsenal, but it is not easy to break through there. He trained with the first team, but it is important for his development to make minutes at the highest level, a chance that is greater at Sparta.

“Omar is a central defender who is strong in football, but also leads the way in battle and does not shy away from duels. There was a lot of competition to attract him, but we are happy that he chose Sparta.”

Clarke moves to Stoke after a year in Scotland’s SPL. He started the 2021/22 campaign with Ross County and finished it with Hibernian after securing a move in January.

The right-back was recalled from Easter Road earlier in the week so that he could complete his move to the Bet365 Stadium. He is clearly excited about the prospect of playing in England’s second tier.

“It feels unreal coming to a club like this,” he told Stoke’s official website.

“It’s been a dream to play in the Championship for a while now so it’s good that it’s finally over the line.

“Obviously we had to deal with leaving Hibs, which had to be done the right way, but I’ve been excited about it ever since I heard about it.

“I see Stoke City as a Premier League club like a lot of people do. I want to be part of something special here this year, getting the Club back to where they belong.”

Best of luck to both lads for the season ahead. We hope Clarke excels but that Stoke are relegated into oblivion.

Report: Arsenal lead chase for Raphinha

Arsenal are ramping up interest in Leeds United’s Raphinha with Goal.com claiming the Brazilian could be a Gunner as soon as this week.

The 25-year-old has been heavily linked with Barcelona in recent months but with the Catalan side struggling to finance a move, it’s said we’re now in pole position to close out a deal that could cost as much as £50 million.

Raphinha signed for Leeds in the summer of 2019 for £17 million and has since made 66 appearances, scoring 16 goals and making 11 assists. The left-footed winger has previously played for the likes of Rennes, Sporting Lisbon and Vitoria Guimaraes.

As always, we’re naturally cautious. At this point, it’s hard to tell whether this story has been planted to kick the Camp Nou hierarchy into gear or whether we’re genuinely trying to close out a quick deal.

If the latter, it would be a big show of intent, especially with Edu and Mikel Arteta also looking to finalise moves for Gabriel Jesus, Youri Tielemans and Lisandro Martinez from Manchester City, Leicester City and Ajax respectively.

The Gunners are expected to confirm the €40 million acquisition of Fabio Vieira from Porto in the next 48 hours.

Arsenal young guns going Dutch

Omar Rekik and Mika Biereth look set for season-long loan moves in Holland as Arsenal gear them up for life in senior football.

Defender Rekik, a full international with Tunisia, is reportedly set to join Sparta Rotterdam while striker Biereth, a Denmark under-19 international, is, according to The Athletic, being linked with RKC Waalwijk.

Rekik, 20, is no stranger to a move. Born in Holland, the centre-back started his career at Feyenoord before taking in stints at Manchester City, PSV Eindhoven and Marseille. The Gunners signed him from Hertha Berlin in January 2021 and he was a regular with the under-23s last season.

 

Had he not earned a surprise call-up to the African Cup of Nations in January, he’d likely have spent the second half of the 2021/22 season with Stoke City who were known to be interested. No doubt the player will have one eye on World Cup selection with his country set to face Denmark, Australia and France in the group stages.

Biereth arrived at Arsenal last summer from Fulham and was quick to make his impact on the under-23s. The 19-year-old scored 12 goals in 26 appearances and was included on the bench for a number of first team matches. While he’s yet to make his debut for Mikel Arteta’s first team, hopes are high that he can take a serious claim within a couple of years.

In addition to sorting loan moves for a number of Academy players, Per Mertesacker also needs to appoint new coaches at both under-23 and under-18 level after Kevin Betsy and Dan Micciche left to join Crawley Town. It’s promising to be a very busy summer for the BFG.