Patrick Vieira has spoken with L’Equipe about potentially becoming Arsenal manager in the future and his current feelings towards Arsene Wenger.
It’s distressingly rare that we hear a former Arsenal player actually stick up for Wenger these days. And, if you were to guess which one would, given Vieira and Wenger’s history, the ex-midfielder probably isn’t one of the first names that springs to mind.
Vieira was disappointed at not being offered a job at Arsenal after retiring from playing and he made that known.
However, it seems that since he became first team coach of New York City FC, the 41-year-old has a new perspective on Wenger’s situation. In fact, he’s disappointed in the way his former boss is being treated.
“I find it very hard for ([Wenger],” Vieira told L’Equipe (translation via Reddit). “I don’t want to say I am suffering for him, because I am not in his place, but I can realize, having worked with him for nine years, at what point he is suffering.
“If there really is someone who loves this club and wants it to be successful, it’s Arsene.
“We can talk about the way in which the team is playing or other things, but I think the criticism that has befallen on Arsene on a personal level are hard to accept. Maybe it’s because I myself have become a manager that I perceive it differently.
“I remember very well all the times where he turned down the biggest clubs to stay at Arsenal. I know what I am talking about, because those same clubs were contacting me and telling me, when I met with them, that their number one objective was to bring in Arsene. He said no to everyone to stay at Arsenal, and today people are forgetting that. I know that’s part of the job but…
“For me, it’s very difficult, sincerely. It’s very difficult because of the personal relation I have with Arsene, and also because you shouldn’t do that. I find the manner in which others are positioning themselves to be very inappropriate. But of course, I know that when the question is asked to them, they have to answer.”
He later revealed, “Let’s say that one day I could be interested [in the Arsenal job]. One day. I can’t say anything more, because there is nothing to say and I especially don’t want to offend Arsene, whom I adore and have a lot of respect for. Because I know he is sufferinf enormously from the current results, more so than from hearing what his old players are saying.”
Vieira has been linked with the Arsenal job but I think it’s pretty clear that, if he does become manager one day, it won’t be for a while. Although he helped New York City FC come second in the MLS last year, he’s still got plenty of experience to earn.
Also, out of respect for Wenger, I don’t think he would have agreed anything yet.
Although I do wonder whether his comments about how other people have positioned themselves in the running is a bit of a dig at Thierry Henry…