Patrick Vieira has admitted that the idea of managing at Arsenal interests him ‘one day’ as anyone with a connection to the club and some managerial experience continues to be linked with a position that isn’t even vacant yet.
Unlike Thierry Henry, who has zero club management, Vieira has at least been spending time learning the trade in which he wants to make a name for himself.
Appointed as manager of New York City at the start of 2016, he has a contract that runs until the end of 2018. In 77 games he has averaged 1.6 points per game. Arsene Wenger, for comparison, has an points-per-game average of 1.95 in the Premier League across 1187 matches.
Speaking exclusively to L’Equipe this weekend (via GFFN), Vieira was naturally asked if the Arsenal job interested him. “Let’s say that one day, it may interest me. Someday,” Vieira replied diplomatically.
“I can’t say more than that because there’s nothing more to say and more importantly, I don’t want to offend Arsène who I love and respect immensely. Because I know how much he is suffering due to the current results, more so than hearing what former players are saying about him.
“I read a lot of things. I read what Ian Wright, Martin Keown, Paul Merson or Ray Parlour have said, but I tell myself those guys are doing their thing. They’re pundits and are forced to say that for their media. When you’re in that line of work, you are forced to do so.”
He was then asked if he feels ready to coach a club at the level of Arsenal. His answer was definitive.
“If I have the chance someday to coach a big team, then yes, I think I’ll be ready. I feel ready.”
But what if the national team comes calling, would that sort of job be something he would consider? “Honestly, a national team doesn’t really interest me. National team manager, no, not really… I’m a young coach and I need to be in training every day.”
Paddy also spoke about Arsene Wenger and the pressure he’s under at the club, adding, “I find it very hard for him. I don’t want to say he’s suffering because I’m not in his shoes, but I can understand what he is going through, after having spent time with him for nine years.
“If there’s anyone out there who loves the club and wants to see them succeed, it’s Arsène. Of course, we can talk about the way the team is playing or whatever, but I find that the criticism towards Arsène is hard to accept. Maybe it’s because I’ve become a coach that I feel things differently.
“I remember very well all the times where he turned down bigger clubs to stay at Arsenal. I know what I’m talking about because those same clubs contacted me and told me that their number one priority was to bring in Arsène.
“He said no to everyone to stay at Arsenal and today, people are forgetting that. I know that our profession requires it but that’s how it is…”