FC Porto found themselves on the wrong end of a ‘bad deal’ when selling Fabio Vieira to Premier League giants Arsenal for a fee of £34 million, former presidential candidate Nuno Lobo tells Bola Branca.
Just last week, Porto chief Pinto da Costa was at pains to point out that the ‘only way’ clubs would be able to lure the most exciting talent away from the Estadio da Luz this summer was to trigger their release clause.
Triggering the clause, he said, “is the only way to take the player away from us.”
Clear, simple, and straightforward.
So why, just a day or two later, did Porto accept a £34 million bid from Arsenal for one of the most exciting young midfielders, not just in Portugal, but in the whole of Europe. Vieira, after all, had a £42 million clause in a contract that still had three years left to run, as reported by The Guardian.
No wonder Nuno Lobo is as confused as he is concerned.
“He is one of the best players at FC Porto and leaving for this fee is a bad deal,” says Lobo, who came third in the 2020 presidential elections.
“We are talking about one of the gems of FC Porto, one of the players who came from our academy. The DNA of FC Porto.
“We lost him. It’s another piece of business that I don’t understand.”
Arsenal sign Porto’s Fabio Vieira
The skilful, scheming Vieira provided seven goals and a hugely impressive 16 assists as Porto claimed the Primeira Liga title last season. The prancing playmaker – who was named the Player of the Tournament at last year’s U21 European Championships – will sign a five-year deal worth a reported £46,000-a-week at the Emirates Stadium.
And Lobo fears that Sergio Conceicao’s title-claiming Porto side will be all-but unrecognisable when 2022/23 kicks off.
Star centre-back Chancel Mbemba is leaving on a free transfer. Meanwhile, another homegrown youngster in Vitinha is on his way to Paris Saint-Germain (Fabrizio Romano).
“We are talking about ridiculous values for players who represent and are FC Porto,” Lobo fumes. “They is from our academy and we are letting them go for unbelievable fees.
“Of course I’m worried about this situation. Losing Chancel Mbemba, a mainstay of our defence, losing Fabio Vieira and, if we lose Vitinha, who comes to (replace them)? I am worried.”