Back in March we reported that Patrick Vieira could leave Manchester City in the summer as he looks to further his coaching career.
The former Arsenal captain has been heading up the under-21 set-up at the Etihad over the last couple of years but is understood to be on the lookout for a new challenge with negotiations over a contract renewal apparently stalling.
Naturally, given his relationship with Arsene Wenger and his success during nine years at Highbury, we wrote optimistically that the 38-year-old might finally return to the Gooner bosom.
It appears that Patrick himself did once harbour hopes of a role at London Colney, however, when the opportunity arose at the time of his retirement four years ago Arsene didn’t pick up the phone.
Touching on the situation in L’Equipe [quotes translated by ESPN] Vieira explained:
“Everywhere I go, people say that to me [why did I not return to Arsenal]. It was out of the question for me to put myself forward. Why would I have done?
“When I stopped playing, I had an offer from City, and I didn’t get a call from Arsene. If he had wanted me to work with him, he would have asked me.
“It was a disappointment for me, both from the club but also Arsene. I gave a lot to Arsenal, and the club and Arsene gave me a lot too.”
After a glittering career it’s unsurprising that Vieira is being touted as a potential star-coach of the future. So much so that with Manuel Pellegrini on the brink at City, he’s even been tipped to take over first team duties for next season.
“There is a manager in place so I am not asking myself that question,” Vieira made clear, when asked about such speculation.
“I will soon talk to my bosses. Our relationship is excellent, and I feel very good at the club. Why not continue to flourish with the youth team?”
Staying at City isn’t Vieira’s only option, as he went on to explain: “I don’t say ‘No’ to France. There are a lot of great players in France. I love Marco Verratti, the best player in Ligue 1 by far. There’s also Nabil Fekir, who’s really very good.
“Actually, I have asked Jean-Michel Aulas if I can go to Lyon to learn about their youth academy policy. In fact, I have not set myself a place nor an age: 38, 45… It doesn’t matter.
“If an interesting project comes up tomorrow, I will study it carefully while also talking to the people at City, with whom I have a transparent relationship.
“The condition is the solidity of the project and the people — the presidents especially — who are leading it, as well as the quality of the structures. I will not go into something if I risk finding myself all alone if things don’t go well.”
It remains to be seen whether Arsenal will get in touch with Vieira. We can but hope.
As our resident youth team expert, Jeorge Bird, explains on the Arsecast this week, it certainly seems odd that we’ve never tried to lure him back south, especially in light of the struggles of our under-21 and under-18 squads in the last couple of years.