Petit says Edu made a ‘mistake’ signing Arsenal ‘lightweight’ who doesn’t stack up with Smith Rowe

Will Ford
Emmanuel Petit talks about England

Arsenal legend Emmanuel Petit says club director Edu made a “mistake” signing “lightweight” Fabio Vieira in the summer.

Vieira has started just three Premier League games this season following his £32m move from Porto in the summer, and was heavily criticised for his showing in the recent 3-3 draw against Southampton, in which he was taken off before the hour mark.

And Petit doesn’t think the Portuguese star is “physically and mentally ready” for the Premier League, and Arsenal have made a “mistake” signing him.

Petit told “I don’t think Fabio Vieira has shown as of yet, that he is the right level to play for Arsenal. When he signed I thought to myself ‘this guy looks very lightweight for the Premier League’. I don’t think he’s ready for the Premier League physically and mentally.”

“You can also say that he’s struggled not getting consistent game time and when you compare him to Emile Smith-Rowe, who I think has a future with Arsenal, he’s not the same. Respectfully, I think it was perhaps a mistake signing Vieira.”

Another Arsenal star to have been criticised in recent games – against Manchester City in particular as Erling Haaland tore him a new one – is Rob Holding, who’s been starting games in place of the injured William Saliba.

And although Petit believes the centre-back “has done his very best”, that’s not enough for a title-chasing side.

He added: “I don’t want to criticise Holding, he puts in a lot of effort and has done his very best, but if you want to win titles I think it’s difficult for Holding to play every game as he’s been required recently.

“I can see Gabriel doesn’t have the same confidence when he plays with Holding, he looks like a different defender.

“Defensively Arsenal are not as strong when Saliba and Gabriel do not play together, it impacts on the rest of the team, they don’t play the same way. White and Zinchenko don’t attack enough when Saliba isn’t there. It affects them mentally and with their confidence, they miss him when he’s not there.”

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