Arsenal are believed to be tracking 20-year-old Porto midfielder Fabio Vieira and could make a January approach for the emerging star in an attempt to inject fresh life into the squad.
The Gunners have slid towards the Premier League relegation zone after losing seven of their opening 12 games of the season and are closer to the bottom three than the top four following three consecutive defeats against Wolves, Tottenham and Burnley.
Mikel Arteta bolstered his midfield in summer with the £45m capture of Thomas Partey, only to see the Ghanaian’s impact limited by injury. Meanwhile, Dani Ceballos has failed to impress on his second season on loan from Real Madrid, while Granit Xhaka took an enormous step backwards when he reverted to old ways and was recklessly sent off against Burnley.
Arteta is overseeing a transitional period at Arsenal and is attempting to build a squad for the long-term, with a report from Portuguese outlet Record that Vieira is on their transfer shortlist.
It is said that the Gunners have been watching the young Porto talent for some time and are ready to hit a release clause to the tune of £27m in order to trigger talks. But Marseille are also rumoured to be interested, while Porto could try and secure him to an improved new long-term contract.
Vieira broke into Porto’s first-team towards the end of last season and enjoyed a breakout performance when he scored in a 2-0 Champions League win over Olympiacos in October.
Arteta is under increasing pressure because of Arsenal’s poor results, but the Spaniard has played down suggestions that he has lost support from players in the dressing room.
“When you have the squad that we have at the moment, for different circumstances it's impossible to have 31 happy players in the camp. It's absolutely impossible," he said this week.
"I don't know any club in the world who has that. But obviously when you lose again these things are going to come out again to put more pressure or be disruptive. I'm not interested in any of that.”
Arteta has also received the back of Gunners technical director Edu, who has said it would be ‘unfair’ to talk about the manager in terms of anything other than patience.
“He didn’t get a sequence to know everyone properly. It would be really unfair to Mikel to say something about that because the year was so challenging for everyone but even more for Mikel, who’d just arrived at the club,” Edu explained.
“Because if you have a manager who was at the club for two, three, five years, it makes that situation easier. That’s why Mikel needs always, from my side, good words.”