Crystal Palace take on Arsenal on Monday night as Premier League football returns this weekend but could Patrick Vieira one day manage his former club? The Gunners legend has impressed since taking over from Roy Hodgson in the Selhurst Park dugout, transforming the Eagles into a brave, energetic and entertaining outfit. He has steered them comfortably to safety and the future looks bright with a squad crammed with potential.
Mikel Arteta required a last-minute Alexandre Lacazette equaliser to take a point from their clash with Palace at the Emirates earlier in the season and will be wary of their threat next week. As Vieira’s impressive performances continue to stack up, most recently holding Manchester City to a 0-0 draw, the more the prospect of him one day managing Arsenal will be discussed.
It is a topic he has touched upon before. In 2018, three months before he began his role as Nice manager, L’Equipe asked whether he would be interested in the Arsenal role. But with Wenger still in his position, the midfielder was eager not to overstep the mark.
“Let’s say that some day it might interest me. But one day,” Vieira told the French newspaper, via MailOnline. “I cannot say anything more because there is nothing to say about it and I do not want to offend Arsene, whom I adore and for whom I have a lot of respect.
“Because I know that he suffers a lot from the current results, even more than hearing what his former players say. I find the criticism that fall on Arsene on a personal level are difficult to accept. It may have been becoming a coach myself that makes me feel differently.
“I remember very well every time he refused the biggest clubs to stay at Arsenal. I know what I am talking about, because the same clubs contacted me and told me, when I met them, that their No 1 goal was to bring in Arsene. He said no to everyone to stay and today people forget about it.”
Wenger would leave his role as Arsenal manager just months after the interview, and while Vieira remained coy in his answers at the time, it is clear that one day occupying the dug-out at the Emirates Stadium was something that certainly tempted him.