Emmanuel Petit labels Arsenal signing a ‘mistake’ that is ‘too lightweight’

The Gunners legend fears his old club have wasted £34million (Picture: Getty)

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has slammed the decision to sign Fabio Vieira last summer and feels the Portuguese playmaker is a level below the standard required.

The 22-year-old arrived in north London in a £34million deal from Porto after enjoying an excellent campaign in Portugal, scoring six times and laying on 14 assists in just 27 appearances.

But he has struggled to replicate that form since joining the Gunners, starting just three times in the Premier League and largely limited to the role of impact sub.

In the absence of Granit Xhaka in last month’s 3-3 draw with Southampton, Vieira was handed a rare start but gave an abject display and was the first player substituted after 57 minutes.

He has enjoyed a more prominent role in the Cup competitions, starting all eight of Arsenal’s Europa League matches – scoring once and laying on two assists.

Petit, though, believes he has seen enough of Vieira to know that his signing was a ‘mistake’ and says the wiry playmaker is simply too ‘lightweight’ to cut it in the Premier League.

‘I don’t think Fabio Vieira has shown as of yet, that he is the right level to play for Arsenal,’ Petit told Compare Bet ahead of the Gunners’ clash with Chelsea on Tuesday evening.

Vieira has started just three times in the Premier League (Picture: Getty)

‘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.’

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Petit believes Arsenal must go big in the transfer market this summer to build on such an encouraging season, continuing: ‘They need to improve the quality of the team. They have a very strong, talented team and structure and they are young so if they can still play together they will improve much more.

‘I think Arteta and Arsenal know they have to be more active in the transfer market.

‘It may be that they need to buy five players, in important positions to improve the team, the quality of the team. On top of this, they’re going to play the Champions League next season so the standards will be higher, so I think Arteta and Arsenal know that. If they want to improve, they need to improve the quality and quantity of the team.’

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