Next Arsenal manager: Patrick Vieira says he ‘ready to coach in Europe’ as hunt for Wenger’s replacement continues
It was revealed last week that current Emirates supremo Wenger will step down from his role as manager following 22 years in charge of the club.
Vieira, who joined the club in 1996 and won three Premier League titles and three FA Cups before joining Juventus in 2005, said it would be difficult to leave his role his role at MLS side New York City where he has been manager since November 2015.
A host of names have been linked with the Arsenal job, including former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique and another former midfielder, Mikel Arteta, who is currently a coach under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
“I mentally know what’s going on, what people are saying,” Vieira told The Times in reference to speculation linking him with the hot seat. “And I’m really happy about that because I think it’s good to have your name linked with a team like Arsenal. But honestly it’s not something which will stop me doing what I am doing at the moment.”
Vieira’s New York side are top of the Eastern Conference having made their best start to a season.
“It’s an honour to be mentioned with Arsenal,” the Frenchman added. “It was somewhere I spent nine years and I love the club. I played my best football there and made my name in the game.”
His appointment would surely be one to reinvigorate a section of disenchanted Arsenal fans who have been vocal in their demand for change in the dugout.
“I am always going to have a deeper relationship with Arsenal. That [alone] is not enough to coach that team but I’m ready to coach any side in Europe.
“I don’t want this to be perceived that I want to go because I don’t want to leave. But, if the question is as simple as, ‘Are you ready to manage any teams in Europe?’ then I would say yes. I am ready. I think we’re all doing this job because one day we want to coach the biggest teams in Europe,” he said. “Just like when you’re a player, you want to play for the biggest clubs.”
“If the call came it would be really difficult,” Vieira admitted. “It would be difficult because we will be in the middle of the season. And, like every time I’ve been approached by any teams, I’m sitting with the guys from the CFG and will let them know. They will make the decision because I’m under contract.”
Since Vieira left in 2005, Arsenal have won three FA Cups under Wenger and are on the verge of reaching the Europa League final, though they face tough opposition in the shape of LaLiga side Atletico Madrid in the last four.
The trophy represents a chance to win a place in next season’s Champions League.