First recruit of Paris Saint-Germain during this summer transfer window, Vitinha (22), bought 41.5 million euros from FC Porto, has everything from the right pick. It must be said that Parisian supporters have been waiting for a technical midfielder capable of combining with Marco Verratti for a long time. They will be served since the Portuguese international could very well be the twin of the Italian. Hit her more.
By Steven Oliveira and Anais Silva
Yohan Cabaye, Benjamin Stambouli, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Julian Draxler, Giovani Lo Celso, Lassana Diarra, Leandro Paredes, Idrissa Gueye, Ander Herrera, Rafinha, Danilo Pereira, Georginio Wijnaldum. Here is the list of all the midfielders recruited by Paris Saint-Germain since 2014. If all of them have not embodied a failure – although -, none has managed to find a lasting place in the Parisian midfield. alongside Marco Verratti and make people forget the trio that the Italian made up at the start of the Qatari era with Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi. As a result, for several seasons, PSG has struggled in this sector, where the technique is far too rare. And obviously, Luis Campos noticed it since, unlike his predecessors, the Portuguese made the midfield his main site, as signified by the recruitment of Vitinha from Porto for 41.5 million euros. Either the second most expensive transfer in the history of PSG for a midfielder behind the 42 million euros of Javier Pastore. It takes that to finally hold a young technical midfielder to combine with Marco Verratti.
However, nothing predicted that Vitinha would become the 6e biggest sale in the history of FC Porto. Whether it’s when the Portuguese club loaned its jewel to Wolverhampton for a season in 2020. Or when little Vítor Machado Ferreira, his full name, was doing his range with young people dragons. Within a golden 2000 generation of which Fábio Vieira was the headliner, Vitinha does not necessarily stand out even if he already has something more than the others to listen to Luís Gonçalves, his coach at the U15s in Porto : “He was already distinguished by his intelligence, his way of understanding the game and above all his willingness to learn. I remember once he asked to speak to me privately because he was worried about his performance. He wondered if everything was okay and what he needed to do to improve. These are natural concerns for a young player. But the fact that he came to talk to me about it proved his desire to become a professional. At that moment, I knew he was going to be a great player.” . Reassured, the young Vitinha can then do what he knows how to do best on the pitch: play ball.
Luis Gonçalves with Vitinha and Fabio Vieira
Like a real box-to-box, the one who won the 2019 Youth League with FC Porto and his friends from the 2000 generation likes to have the ball at his feet and take the ball to the opposing goal, dribbling or sending a remote pass. And this, regardless of the age and standing of his teammates and opponents. Vitinha did not wait long to become the true conductor of Sérgio Conceição’s FC Porto on his return from loan to Wolverhampton, where he distinguished himself above all. by a strike from 35 meters against a non-league club in the FA CUP. It’s very simple, in Porto, it was Vitinha who dictated the tempo and who chose to combine with his childhood friend Fabio Vieira – who left for Arsenal this summer – with wingers like Pepê or striker Mehdi Taremi. “He is a very intelligent player who understands the game well. He reads situations very quickly, seeks and finds solutions even in small spaces. It is in this that he is a player apart. He’s the one who makes the team play, he’s the maestroignites Luís Gonçalves. And then he knows how to position himself very well to cover the field and thus recover many balls. » However, the young Vitinha has long balked at the defensive tasks that fall to his role as a central midfielder: “Like other young players, he struggled to understand that football was not just about attacking. But today, he has become a complete midfielder who can do everything. His footballing maturity is impressive.” . To the point of being voted best player in the Portuguese championship in December 2021 and January 2022 and being compared to Deco, Marco Verratti or even Jack Grealish. And not just for the haircut.
A Marco Verratti bis
Vitinha is not the first Portuguese player to leave the Primeira Liga after a big season to join a big European team. And if the left side Nuno Mendes passed the course easily, achieving a convincing first year with Paris Saint-Germain, this is not the case for other Lusitanians. Whether Gonçalo Guedes, already at PSG, João Félix at Atlético or Renato Sanches at Bayern Munich, all have more or less struggled to reproduce their performances seen in Primeira Liga. Only time will tell if Vitinha falls into the category of his new teammate Nuno Mendes or that of his other compatriots. But one thing is certain, the one who has, for the moment, three international caps, has everything to impose himself in a capital where he will not be out of place. In fact, Portuguese will become the most spoken language in the Parisian locker room. His former trainer Luís Gonçalves obviously believes in him and stresses the importance of adapting to his new life: “The first days will be very important. His integration, the way he will be welcomed by his teammates like Neymar or Messi. But he is a calm young man, who does not make a fuss, who knows his worth and his abilities. I know he will seize the opportunity and assert himself in this team. I’m even sure he’s already learning French.” . His first words after his transfer to Paris Saint-Germain go in any case in this direction.
— Paris Saint Germain (@PSG_inside) June 30, 2022
Accustomed to playing in all positions in the midfield, Vitinha will be able to shine regardless of the scheme put in place by Christophe Galtier, who should be presented the same day as him. It must be said that in Porto, Vitinha showed that he was capable of playing as a torchbearer in a 4-3-3 as well as a double pivot in a 4-4-2. That’s good, the former Nice coach is a fan of this formation with two central midfielders, even if he could well opt for a 3-5-2 with Nuno Mendes and Achraf Hakimi in piston and Neymar or Messi in number 10 Be that as it may, Vitinha will be able to form a doublet with Marco Verratti, certainly small in size (1.72m for the Portuguese and 1.65m for the Italian) but whose legs like to chain the kilometers, recover balloons, wedging small bridges, hooks or even sending millimeter passes. And unlike those of the Little Owl, Vitinha’s legs are also capable of sending pralines 35 meters. Like Leandro Paredes. With the difference that those of the future darling of the Parc des Princes do not end in the stands but in the skylights.
By Steven Oliveira and Anais Silva
Comment by Luis Gonçalves collected by AS.