Arsene Wenger believes that Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira will one day take the reins at the club after labelling his former midfielder ‘elegant and authoritative’.
Vieira, 42, spent nine seasons in north London, winning three Premier League titles and three FA Cups, and after retiring coached at Manchester City before managing New York City and moving to Nice in 2018.
Now Wenger, who joined the club at the same time as Vieira in 1996 and was manager for 22 years, has expressed faith in his compatriot to succeed with the Gunners after guiding Nice to eighth place this season.
‘I see him as the Arsenal coach one day because he is too young to go directly into international football,’ Wenger told The Times.
‘His life will go through club football. He has constructed his career intelligently and patiently. ‘He left when he was young, and he has taken time to mature and learn his profession. And something you can’t give; he has a natural charisma, he is both elegant and authoritative.‘He has passed through a difficult time at Nice but he showed no signs of weakness. It is in times of crisis you see the coach. You look at the number of points and it is exceptional.’
After leaving Arsenal in 2005, Vieira enjoyed spells at Juventus and Inter before finishing his career with Manchester City in 2011.
After a spell as a youth coach at his final club, the Frenchman helped New York City improve each year in Major League Soccer until returning to Ligue 1 with Nice in 2018.
Wenger remains out of work after leaving Arsenal at the end of the 2017-2018 season, despite assurances he would make a swift return to the game.
He has been considered for a technical role at FIFA, but the 69-year-old recently admitted his health suffered during his final years at the Emirates.