Published On: Sat, Apr 21st, 2018

Vieira 'flattered' by Arsenal link, insists he's happy at NYCFC

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Patrick Vieira admitted he’s “flattered” to be linked with the upcoming managerial vacancy at Arsenal, but insisted he’s keen on seeing out a few more years with New York City FC in Major League Soccer.

The Senegalese-born Frenchman was a fierce competitor in the Gunners’ midfield during Arsene Wenger’s most successful period as the club’s manager. It’s that past – coupled with Vieira’s proven coaching credentials from handling Manchester City‘s Elite Development Squad and NYCFC – that has seen him touted as Wenger’s successor when the latter steps down at the end of this season.

Wenger’s departure will conclude 22 years of service that saw him revolutionise the country’s game in terms of players’ diets and scouting, and through his preference for entertaining, attacking football. Vieira is one of the veteran’s greatest individual success stories, and someone who Wenger recently noted “has the potential” to be Arsenal’s manager in the future.

Related: Wenger merits unanimous praise for role as Premier League pillar

“I spent nine years at Arsenal which makes the club really special for me,” Vieira told New York radio station WNYE, as reported by BBC Sport. “But that is not enough to coach the team.”

Since moving to MLS, Vieira has managed big names – including Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, and David Villa – and ushered NYCFC into two straight Eastern Conference semi-finals in the league’s playoffs. He can also be credited with aiding the development of youngsters Aleix Garcia, Tosin Adarabioyo, Pablo Maffeo, and others at Manchester City, and played a huge part in Jack Harrison‘s rapid progress at NYCFC before his January switch to Pep Guardiola’s side.

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

But the three-time Premier League champion and winner of the 1998 World Cup with France isn’t finished in the Big Apple yet.

“I am always flattered to hear my name linked with different football clubs. That is good for your ego but at the same time, I am happy here,” Vieira said.

“We will see what will happen in the next couple of years.”

Arsenal could go big in its next appointment, especially after Raul Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat were hired as the club’s head of football relations and recruitment, respectively. One decorated boss to throw his hat into the ring has been Carlo Ancelotti, who admitted to BBC Sport “it would give me pleasure” to be of interest to Arsenal.

Celtic tactician Brendan Rodgers, Juventus‘ Massimiliano Allegri, Monaco‘s Leonardo Jardim, and ex-Barcelona manager Luis Enrique have also been rumoured as Arsenal’s next overseer.

Related – Filling Le Professeur’s shoes: 5 candidates to succeed Wenger at Arsenal

“Ideally for me, a very experienced manager with a lot of stature,” goalkeeping great David Seaman responded when asked by ESPN FC’s Mattias Karen about his ideal appointment at Arsenal.

“Someone like Ancelotti. He’s been at big clubs before, he knows what he wants from his team and he’ll know what sort of players he wants as well.”

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