Patrick Vieira says he had a conversation with Arsenal executives over the possibility of taking over from Arsene Wenger, but didn’t reach the final stages of the process.
Speaking to The Times this week, Vieira revealed he was one of the candidates on the initial list Ivan Gazidis, Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi drew up.
“Their executives met through a process which included a conversation with me but it didn’t go any further,” he admitted. “I have been allowed to grow as a coach and gain valuable experience. That has helped me become much more clear in my approach, my vision of football.”
From the sounds of things, Vieira didn’t make the final shortlist, and get the chance to make a presentation and speak in more depth about the job. However, clearly Arsenal did at least consider bringing their former player back as a manager.
After leaving the Gunners in 2005, Vieira played for three different clubs before retiring. He then managed the Manchester City Reserves, followed by New York City FC. Now he’s closing in on the top job at Nice, in Ligue 1, with the club ‘increasingly confident’ he’ll take over.
Realistically though, his managerial career is still a bit young for Arsenal. He has no experience at the top level in any of Europe’s top-five leagues, even as an assistant. It’s hard to make a case for someone like that taking over from Arsene Wenger.
Now he has the chance to get that sort of experience with Nice, and in the future, who knows?