Thursday, February 29, 2024

Report: Vieira tops Arsenal hit-list

According to a report in French publication Nice-Matin, Patrick Vieira has emerged as Arsenal’s first-choice replacement for Unai Emery.

The ex-Gunner is head coach of French side Nice with whom he has a contract until 2021. He led them to a 7th place finish in Ligue 1 last season but they are struggling this campaign and currently sit in 14th.

It sounds like life on the Cote d’Azur has been somewhat complicated by matters off the field, financial shenanigans by the former owner and a takeover by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe.

Get France Football News have put together an interesting thread on Twitter that explains a few of the goings-on.


For what it’s worth, before last night’s 4-1 capitulation at Saint Etienne, Viera said: “I get the feeling that it [the rumours] disturbs you more than me or the club. There is nothing to say about it, there is nothing serious, nothing real I have no comments to make about that.”

It’s believed that Arsenal have cast a wide net in their hunt for a new head coach with Freddie Ljungberg, currently interim, and Mikel Arteta, Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City, fellow ex-Gunners in the running. Experienced heads including Max Allegri, Carlo Ancelotti, Rafa Benitez, Maurichio Pochettino and Brendan Rodgers have also been mentioned.

Vieira played for Arsenal between 1996 – 2005 winning three league titles and three FA Cups  (four if you count 02/03 when he was injured) before Juventus came calling. Already World and European champion with France, the midfielder won the Scudetto in Turin (later rescinded) before hot-footing it to Inter Milan when the Bianconeri were relegated for match-fixing. Four further Scudettos followed.

He was linked with a return to Arsenal in 2010 only for Manchester City to make him a better offer. After winning the FA Cup at the Etihad he was offered the chance to start his coaching career becoming their Football Development Executive. Within a couple of years he became Elite Development squad manager.

Vieira stayed under the City umbrella when he took up the head coach position of new MLS franchise New York City in 2015. A year later Nice came calling.

It’s too early to tell if there’s any truth to this story. We know that Vieira was approached by Ivan Gazidis when the search for Arsene Wenger’s successor began but our former captain didn’t make the final shortlist.

Does the club think he’s garnered sufficient experience in Europe in the last 18 months to have bolstered his cause? Obviously, the romance of a reunion with one of the club’s greatest players is romantic, but romance enough isn’t going to help us get back on track.

It would certainly be a bold decision by Raul Sanllehi given his reputation is on the line if he appoints another dud.

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I would rather get a tried and tested coach at this stage considering we have two of our best players on the end of their contracts and need them to sign on. I’d rather pay more for an established manager and increase our chances of holding on to the best players rather than someone still new, irrelevant of any previous ties to the club. I don’t think that’s important at this stage. What is, is saving this season and trying to get a Champions League spot. That would save more money, I would hazard a guess…


after losing RvP, there’s a time we were scared of losing Walcott. Walcott! then the time we thought without Ozil and Alexis we’d be doomed. Now Auba and Laca. Truth is, it’s a mentality of a small club and one that’s being mismanaged. when the time comes and it will be soon considering their age and where we are as a club( struggling in mid table for 3 seasons now and counting), we will lose them. whether we get better players or not will be a matter for the future. We need the right manager not just one who can… Read more »

Uncle Baldy

Great post Gooner. Maybe I’m naive but I just want something to believe in, an identity I can behind. If it takes us five years to get back on track then so be it. I’m really excited about a legend being at the helm even if it means no CL footy for a bit.


100% agree with gooner on this. No offence to Mootilated, but we already have Lacazette and Auba and our squad is unbalanced and kinda shit. Yes they represent the top end of our talent, but they also represent a log jam of a significant portion of our resources. Perhaps those resources can be better spent in development and investment in a few young prospects. The truth is the urgency we feel as fans to be “great again” may not be the best mentality to actually establish any kind of sustainable greatness. Our plans and actions must be comprehensive and I… Read more »

Yankee Gooner

This situation reminds me a bit of a team I grew up watching (Pittsburgh Steelers, 1970s NFL; I’m from the U.S.) and who’d been underachieving—they hired a new HC, Chuck Noll, who lead them to 4 Super Bowl wins in the decade: the first practice he ran, though, he allegedly said to the team, “the truth is that most of you just aren’t very good” and then shipped those guys out. The next AFC manager needs to preside over a big turnover of the central defense and midfield (at least) WHILE trying to sneak back into the top 4—that’s a… Read more »


Ah, the Steelers. Three coaches in 38 years? Always pursuing excellence, smart, determined, and tough minded club. A total reflection of the ownership. I guess we can dream that Arsenal could return to that way. Would really be uplifting if the new manager would come in, and say our goal is to win the league in three to five years. Oh but for KSE………..


you have deeply offended me.

kidding 🙂 everybody has an opinion. i just know mine is always right.

kidding again.

David C

Let’s just offer Klopp a billion pounds a year to leave Liverpool 🙂

A guy can dream, right?


There’s nothing in these reports. Just lazy journalism. Here’s an arsenal legend who’s currently managing, arsenal currently need a new manager, so let’s say he’s the favorite for the job and get our name out there. Honestly, have any of you ever heard of Nice-Matin??

This bs doesn’t help anyone and just makes Vieira’s job more difficult than it already is. Move on.


I’m honestly not going to get sucked into the speculation game this time around. But all I will say is this. We are literally 5 points above being sucked into the relegation zone. This is not the time for Vieira, or Arteta, or even Freddie long term. And its certaintly not the time for Raul and Co’ to take any unnessary risk, purposefully doing something out of leftfield solely because they want their managerial appointment to be viewed in the same ‘Arsenal folklore’ as the Dein Wenger appointment in 96. Its not time for any of that shit. And anyone… Read more »


“Patrick Vieira’s Nice were identityless, always relying on individual brilliance in either box.” This sounds familiar to our fortunes under Unai. So not sure about this. Would be a real shame if he came in and stank up the place given he’s our greatest ever midfielder

Dave M

Yeah and it would be awesome if he came in and actually got the players playing for the team and with some pride and intensity too. His NYC team was absolutely no identity-less. They played great football – free-flowing passing style and he took them from 17th to 2nd in two season. He is now with a smaller French team in a small french city with a limited budget and everyone condems Vieira as a failed manager because they haven’t won the league. He moved them up a position. They are mid-table now – nothing brilliant, but not a disaster.… Read more »


Yeah, same. Vieira is a manager that would excite me. He was a quality player who knows his football, and was instrumental in seeing us through a whole season unbeaten.
If that isn’t good credentials for Arsenal, I don’t know what is.
Would much rather him than Arteta, who besides being a solid player for us, has no experience of management – particularly in a challenging environment like Nice.
I’d be 100% behind this even if it didn’t work out.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Knowing about MLS, I wanted to say exactly what you said about Vieira. You said it better than I would have.


I know it’s just a twitter thread, but also of concern to me was reporting of his conservative player selection stunting young talent, playing players out of position, and tinkering with lineups. The latter two also sound painfully familiar, and the former of the three makes that even more worrisome. I’m not buying into any manager just because of past glories. That guarantees absolutely nothing, and has failed more often than succeeded. BUT I will give whatever appointment they make a solid go. I just hope for something purposeful. A manager who will bring a clear understanding of our shortcomings… Read more »


Freddie’s focus on making each player slightly better, while focusing his entire philosophy on being in right position ms to attack and defend best is exactly what we need. I really hope we give him a couple of months to implement his ideas. We already have a top coach. Who has proven to be champion on his first stint at Arsenal U23. Guardiola was Barca’s second team coach for a year before impressing and getting the first team job.



Spanish Gooner

True, but every year an u23 manager wins the league in every country in Europe, and only one turned into Pep


Well, they’re both bald.


I agree. If progress continues, I like the very initial statements. He’s clearly addressing -in clear, not-obtuse fashion- our weaknesses. I hope he can make progress on them. I also hope he can continue to inspire the first half possession and attacking improvements from the Norwich match. Yes, it was just Norwich, but I don’t believe we would have seen that with Emery based on the sludge we were mired in. If these things make progress, i’d like to see where it goes a while before simply trading him for another former great, based on not a whole lot more.… Read more »


I am sure all the mentioned can do well but wats important now is seeing arsenal back to its trically mentality of winning not just a sophisticated ideology of this coach or the other. Its a mind…built up now that’s most important. The boys have to regain what their predecessors did to delight the club that far


Between Vieira and Simeone, and I’ll live with it.


I’d rather give Freddie a proper chance, I’m liking the things I’m seeing so far and it would be nice to see if the team can progress. He’s being allowed to find his own support staff and that would suggest he’s being given until the end of the season. Viera was a brilliant footballer but he seems a bit of an average manager?


Given that no one comes with a guarantee of success, whoever gets the job has big issues with some of the squad and huge decisions have to be made. Personally, i think whoever it is, needs to sit down with Aubameyang & Lacazette and assure them that we will build a team around them. Most of our defence will never be any better than they are now. A good defender has an inherent sense of danger, that’s not something you can teach, you have ot or you don’t and most of ours don’t. Same goes for our midfield who are… Read more »

Spanish Gooner

Love Paddy but I’m really not sure how I feel about him as manager. Would anybody take Adi Hütter, Pablo Machín or Walter Mazzarri? These are all the managers who finished in the same place as Vieira (who has now dropped to 14th in Ligue 1) last season in the Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A. Much like Solksjaer at United, it might work having a legendary figure to get the team and fans together short term, but long-term our focus should be on a manager who trades on his managerial talent, not his playing reputation. Personally I’d love to… Read more »


Vieira would be a disaster.


Pascal Cygan the next candidate.

Man Manny

A coach needs quality players to put his ideas across. Pep had that leverage in Barcelona; Zidane had it on Real. They wouldn’t be who they are today if they had to start out at Levante or the like. Vieira can do well in Arsenal if he has the right players. Meanwhile, I saw his Nice team torn to shreds last night by an average St. Etienne team. His defence was spectacularly porous! Just like Arsenal, there was no protection whatsoever for the defence. They had shipped four goals by the hour mark. He’ll need better tools to do well… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp

My 2nd favourite Arsenal player after Bergkamp, and I would love to have him back. I don’t think now is the time for him though.

Ennui ball

Your name suggests different..

Thierry Bergkamp

Patrick Bergkamp. Dennis Vieira.

Thierry Bergkamp!!

Only one winner there?


Why are former players so highly thought of as managers? We would never consider Vieira if it wasnt for his history with the club. It might be because of the success with Guardiola and Zidane, but the thing about those two players is that their role on the pitch was one that required a very good understanding of the game rather rely on their physique or technical(somewhat). With all due respect to vieira, he was definitely more than just a talented athlete and technical footballer, but he wasn’t necessarily someone capable of pulling the strings for some of the best… Read more »


Well this is simply untrue. Did you actually watch Vieira? He was unplayable at his peak. To quote Henry, ‘he could play in midfield all by himself’. He was an absolute monster, one of the greatest midfielders of all time.

And for your assertion about pulling the strings for the best teams of all time, he captained the Invincibles.


In answer to all all 3 points:

He was the best midfielder of his generation and ‘pulled the strings’ for the best team the premiership has ever seen.

He was more ‘influential’ for us than Guardiola was for Barca.

Zidane relied totally on his physique and technical ability. It’s what made him what he is.


No, Asshavin nailed this exactly.
Former players are usually crap managers at their old club. Vieira has done nothing to prove he should the next Arsenal manager. It’d be a colossal mistake.

Asshavin: great avie name, btw!


This worries me a little as I don’t think Vieira has quite proven himself enough yet and I am not sure how much extra he can give over Freddie.
If Vieira was given the role before he was ready, but it didn’t work out, that sours the relationship a real legend has with this club. Not sure I am ready for that.
On the flip side, we sure as hell need some combative in your face influence in our midfield……….

Dave M
2nd best defensive record last year. You can’t really judge him on the most recent game. But your last point is exactly why I’m all for it. It is a change in mentality that is needed at Arsenal more than anything. Wenger’s style never waivered, but we still couldn’t challenge and still fell out of the top 4…


Agree with most others here that Vieira right now doesn’t make sense. Personally I would take someone with a proven track record (Simeone, Ancelotti, etc) with Freddie and Per as his lieutenants being the link between players (especially younger ones) and the manager.

Combination of the romance of former players being involved and the necessity of someone who can come in, command respect and sort out the chaos.


Though I don’t dispute the sentiment, why on God’s green Earth would Simeone leave Atletico for us..?


80% of the fanbase would end up hating Simeone. The anthesis of attacking football.


Personally of the opinion we need someone a bit more pragmatic (even negative) to get a winning mentality back into the club. It’s totally complacent from top to bottom at the moment it seems. I don’t watch Arsenal to watch us win trophies, but equally I don’t watch them to watch us lose and draw 95% of our games as we have for the last couple of months. I’d love Simeone for a few years, make the youngsters serial winners, then maybe think about bringing someone in to add the gloss.
Anyway, as I’ve said, he’d never come.

Alan Sunderland's Mighty Perm of Justice

More chance of SpongeBob Squarepants becoming our next manager than Simeone.


Freddie coaching the team excites me a lot more than Paddy but I wouldn’t be against it. I don’t believe the press no anything about ‘the hit-list’ anyway.


* ‘know’ !


No thanks. Great player. Not proven in management yet. Another ten years maybe? Same goes for Arteta.

They shouldn’t even be on the radar. Seventh in Ligue 1 and putting cones out for Guardiola hardly warrants as enough experience. Emery failed miserably and his CV puts both of those guys to shame.

I’ll be disappointed if it’s either one of those two, but hope to god to be completely and utterly wrong.


Great comment.
Agree 100%.

Merlin’s Panini

I don’t think Vieira is the answer. I loved him as a player, just not sure his record as a coach is all that great if the objective is Champions League football. If it were a contract until the end of the season then maybe but then we would have to be prepared to write this season off and potentially lose at least two of our best players.


If Arsenal still had its attacking football identity and Arsene’s philosophy in how the club should be run then an invincible would be worth a shot as a head coach. As they lived and breathed that philosophy they know the benefits of it and how to transmit onto the pitch. Provided they have a talented team with a great mentality. That’s why Pep and Zidane have had headlining successes. Though, our Arsenal DNA has been all but washed out and What’s our identity as a club now under the KSE regime? So an ex-player in Viera may or may not… Read more »


I personally don’t want him being given the job. I remember how many times we had to suffer each close season how he would make waves about money and not renew his contract straightaway, then when he got the chance sold out to City like so many other Arsenal players did.
Would much rather have Brendan Rogers, Allegri or Vic Akers.


How short memories are, eh? How desperate for a bit of the ol’ stardust from years past to fix ‘er up. Maybe looks delicious, but will surely give us all indigestion – and probably the runs. Vieira was no saint. Same with Henry. And the rest of them. (Though Pires was – is – a saint!) Everyone forgets that all those players had middling starts to their careers. AW put (found? was handed?) lightning in a bottle and made them all what they are, save Bergkamp perhaps. That was a once in a lifetime. And, that doesn’t make the old… Read more »

Dave M

Amazing how Vieira has to prove himself as a manager “for another 10 years” as some say and yet everyone is like “yeah lets give Freddie a go”, “yeah I could handle Arteta”…

So much diversity in football management isn’t there…?!

Andre Santos' car keys

To be fair doubts hang around all three, and the reason more hang around Paddy is because he’s actually put himself out there in senior management for the last 4 years and has yet to be unanimously convincing. Arteta was caretaker for a single match (lost) and Freddie spent 7 months as Andries Jonker’s (sacked) assistant at Wolfsburg. Latter two are basically seen as a “clean slate.”

For diversity measures, it’s too bad for Henry. He could have been in the interim position right how had he left Sky Sports in 2016 and accepted the U15s job.

The optimist with little hope

I’d wait a few weeks, see how Freddie does, see if Ancelotti gets sacked, consider him short-term whilst also considering the Freddie vs Patrick vs Arteta debate. I feel it would be a huge kick in the teeth for Freddie to take in Arteta so would like to see what Freddie can do in the short-term prior to making that decision. Knowing us we’ll manage to piss them all off somehow.


We need a poop meter for managers now!


Players that go into management these days, especially at super clubs, have no real clue how hard the job is. They have tons of money from their playing days and mostly get involved because they think they can do a better job than the people that managed them. That’s clearly not enough motivation to master this job. Just because Guardiola became instantly successful at a huge club doesn’t mean we should hire untested ex stars.


Mediocrity, young, and most of all FREE!
What more can we expect from our AMBITIOUS owner Kroenke? 😉


Spot on!

Alan Sunderland's Mighty Perm of Justice

One problem with former legends managing your club.

You give them too much leeway. I could never imagine myself calling for Vieira to be sacked if his record was the same as Emery’s (in terms of style and results). In fact I’d probably refuse to say anything overly negative, even if we got relegated under someone like Vieira.

I think in the modern game you need to be a bit more ruthless. Ten Haag, Ancelotti or Allegri wouldn’t have such ‘baggage’ (for want of a better word).

Alan Sunderland's Mighty Perm of Justice

However, I do like how Freddie is calling out the players (not directly) a little in terms of laziness.

I know a manager needs to protect his players, but in contrast to my earlier post, one benefit of having club a legend as manager, is that the fans will take his side over the players’. Every time.


More managerial fantasy wank off based on sentimentality more than lucid assessment.


One day its Arteta, next day its Marcelino then Nuno then Viera.

Flipant article.

As I mentioned, the one we should really be keeping an eye on is Erick ten Hag at Ajax. Likely not available till summer so maybe a caretaker like LLungberg. As mentioned we will have graduated assessment first start of Jan and later just before Dec.

Another potential is Simeone who is not having a good time at the moment in La Liga. He’s been there for some time.

If you read the tabloids of course, you will be re-reporting silly nonsense like Viera etc.


Shown nothing particular great as manager. I’d pass thanks


No way. He’s a turncoat. Joining the entertainment-wing of a despotic government in City/NYCFC disqualifies him in my opinion. We need someone who has dignity, decency, and adheres to values like…um…basic human rights.


That’s about five or six managers topping the list so far. They really need to work on structuring the list a bit better.

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