Now that we have a fair bit of money from the Adebayor sale, we should turn our attention to strengthening our defense and buy a quality holding midfielder. We missed out on Felipe Melo who signed with Juventus.
Our attention should be focused on getting Miguel Veloso from Sporting Lisbon. His agent has given the thumbs down to his joining Bolton and many reports linking him to Aston Villa as a possible replacement to Gareth Barry have proven unfounded.
Veloso has indicated his interest in making a move abroad. There have been reports that his relationship with manager Paolo Bento is frayed which the player denies. His fee will be somewhere in the range of £15-20 million range. He burst onto the international scene when he shut down Inter’s attack especially Luis Figo and Patrick Vieira in the 2006 CL. Since then he has been a midfield force for Sporting along with Joao Mountinho. Following his impressive U-21 appearances, Phil Scolari inducted him to the national squad. He has earned 7 international caps. Four Four Two’s scouting report on him.
Veloso is versatile with his defensive assignments and has experience at center back and left back positions. He is also comfortable coming forward and opening up the attack showing his creative instincts.
His strengths: His physical presence, great aerial ability, precise passing, and spectacular set pieces. Arsenal sorely lacks a go to player for its set pieces. We have relied on RVP previously but Veloso could provide that extra unpredictable option.
His weaknesses: A suspect work rate, a tough tackler but occasional lack of pace results in getting caught out of position or mistiming tackles. Needs to work on those areas. He also has an affinity for living the high life which has come under the spotlight. Will do well under Wenger’s no nonsense approach.
Veloso could be tempted playing for a club like Arsenal with assured CL appearances and in the top echelons of Premiership football. Combining with Fabregas will recreate his successful partnership with Joao Moutinho at Sporting Lisbon, probably the most creative midfielder in the Portugese league. Fabregas has acknowledged that one of Arsenal’s summer priorities should be getting a quality holding midfielder to take care of the backfield.
Video clip of some of his great bending free kicks interspersed with his passing skills >>