Vitinha, PSG

Five new signings to watch

Five new signings to watch

Publish on 08/02 at 12:37 - I. HOLYMAN


Vitinha, Junya Ito, Nuno Tavares, Breel Embolo and Arthur Theate have all moved to Ligue 1 Uber Eats this summer — turns the spotlight on five new recruits you can expect to make a splash in the French top flight in the 2022/23 season.


Club: Paris Saint-Germain
Age: 22
Nationality: Portuguese


It seems a diminutive midfielder whose ability and personality on the ball speaks for itself arrives at the Parc des Princes every decade. Marco Verratti celebrated the tenth anniversary of his 2012 arrival from Pescara this summer, and the Italy international is now joined by a Portugal international who not shares his pocket-sized build but also promises to match his peerless talent and industry. 


Only 22, Vitinha — or Vitor Machado Ferreira to give him his full name — flourished last season in the colours of Porto having returned from a one-season loan spell at Wolverhampton Wanderers. He was named the Portugal top flight's Young Player of the Year after helping his club, whom he joined aged 11, secure the domestic double.



"I don't like to talk about myself too much, I prefer that people see me play and then make up their own minds. But I am quite technical, I like the beautiful game, and I play mostly for my teammates, I always want to give my best to help the team as much as possible. I'm attack-minded, I like to create, and to link the team together," he said after putting pen to paper on a five-year deal with the Ligue 1 Uber Eats champions. Anyone who saw his Trophée des Champions performance in PSG's 4-0 dismissal of Nantes can only agree with his self-assessment.


Breel Embolo

Club: AS Monaco
Age: 25
Nationality: Swiss


Monaco coach Philippe Clement has seen the club swell his options in attack this summer with Takumi Minamino arriving from Liverpool to supplement those who starred for the eight-time French champions in 2021/22: Wissam ben Yedder — who struck a career-best 25 league goals last season — Kevin Volland and Myron Boadu. 


The Belgian tactician now also has Embolo, the direct, powerful and explosive Switzerland international. A teenage prodigy at Basel, the Cameroon-born striker spent six fruitful years in Germany — first with Schalke and then Borussia Mönchengladbach, where he scored 14 goals and provided 6 assists in 36 games last season, before deciding to come to the Stade Louis II. 



"His profile complements our already strong attacking options and adds more depth to the squad for the upcoming matches," said Monaco sporting director Paul Mitchell, who has brought a player with proven European pedigree and a wealth of experience at still a relatively young age to the principality. 


"At 25, Breel has won titles and been challenged within the structure of the Champions League. Moreover, his presence in the national team and his participation in a World Cup and a European Championships give him an experience of performing in the big events that will be precious for us. Arriving now in his peak years, we welcome him!"


Arthur Theate
Club: Stade Rennais FC
Age: 22
Nationality: Belgian


Rennes were among the most attacking teams in Europe last season, and while they have retained the players that gave them the cutting edge that sliced through opponents, they have taken steps to strengthen the team's backline in a bid to secure the top-three finish they narrowly missed out on last season.


France international and FIFA World Cup winner Steve Mandanda has been prised away from Marseille while the left-footed Theate arrives from Bologna to replace Nayef Aguerd following the Morocco international's departure for West Ham United.



The Belgium international's integration should be helped by the fact he hails from the French-speaking regions of his home country, and any centre-back who can make his mark in Italy — a country that knows more than a thing or two about defending — should prove a significant asset.

"We're really happy with his arrival," said the Breton club's sporting director Florian Maurice. "He's matured in Italy, where he has learned what it means to defend intelligently."


Junya Ito

Club: Stade de Reims

Age: 29

Nationality: Japanese


While Monaco brought in the more high-profile Minamino, it is perhaps Reims who have pulled off the real coup of the 2022 summer transfer window as far as Japanese imports are concerned.


At 29, Ito is relatively old to be making a first move into one of Europe's top five leagues, but his maturity as well as his talent should ensure it is a smooth transition. He was certainly becoming a little too big for the Belgian league after impressing with Genk since arriving from his native country in January 2019. In 144 appearances for the four-time Belgian champions, he scored 29 goals and a particularly promising 49 assists, averaging a goal involvement every two matches.



“Junya has shown an impressive statistical consistency, often finishing as the best passer in the championships that he has played in," declared Reims’ director general Mathieu Lacour. "He is also extremely skillful in front of goal. He is in the very small minority of wide players capable of being involved at the beginning and at the end of moves."


Nuno Tavares

Club: Olympique de Marseille

Age: 22

Nationality: Portuguese


Matteo Guendouzi and William Saliba were both central to Marseille finishing Ligue 1 Uber Eats runners-up last season. Though the latter has returned to Arsenal after his successful loan spell, Guendouzi — who has made his stay at the Orange Vélodrome permanent this summer — has been joined by yet another Arsenal loanee OM will be hoping can make a lasting impression.


The 22-year-old Tavares featured in 13 Premier League games and made a total of 27 competitive appearances for Mikel Arteta's side last season, his first in England following a move from Benfica, whom the Lisbon-born left-back joined in 2015.



Expect the jet-heeled Portugal U21 international to provide the same sort of attacking impetus his compatriot Nuno Mendes does at PSG while affording new Marseille coach Igor Tudor a first-class option when the club embarks on its UEFA Champions League group stage campaign.


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