Patrick Vieira has message for ‘important’ James McArthur amid new Crystal Palace contract hint



Patrick Vieira says he’s looking forward to having James McArthur remain in the Crystal Palace team next season after the midfielder recently appeared to put pen to paper on a new deal at the club.

The 34-year-old Scotsman, who passed the milestone of 300 Premier League games at the start of the season, appeared on a list of FA intermediary transactions as having updated his contract in SE25, seemingly extending his stay after his initial deal was due to run out at the end of the current campaign.

McArthur joined Palace in 2014 and has gone on to represent the club in 247 matches, scoring 19 goals and becoming a key member of the team that has enjoyed its longest-ever spell in the Premier League and reached the FA Cup final in 2016. He has worked under six permanent managers during that time, with current boss Vieira appointing him as the club’s vice-captain at the start of the current campaign.

READ MORE: Every word Patrick Vieira said on Southampton, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Kalvin Phillips and more

His influence on Palace’s newly-assembled, young squad can’t be understated. Conor Gallagher credited him with helping bring his game on during the early months of the season while his opinions are respected and listened to in the dressing room by his first-team colleagues and academy players alike. Even when a hamstring injury saw him miss 12 games of the campaign at the turn of the year, McArthur was still a positive leader around the training ground.

A new deal for him would see Palace keep hold of one of their most experienced and trusted generals, which would only serve them well following another summer that is expected to see even more changes made to the playing squad. With several members of the squad having contracts that expire this summer, it would show how highly Steve Parish, Dougie Freedman and Vieira rate McArthur to get him signed to a new deal with months to spare.

When asked on Friday how important it will be to have the midfielder still at Palace next season, Vieira told football.london: “We’ll have to manage him well and try to have him as much as we can on the field because he has this competitiveness, he’s a real competitor on the field. When he is on the field he guides positive talk and we have a couple of players who need that. To have him on the field is important to us.”

Speaking more generally about what the midfielder offers the team, Vieira added: “He’s a really important player for us, on but off the field as well, because he’s loud on the field, he’s talking, and he doesn’t stop talking on the field. We need him to guide some of the players around and we are a different team when he is on the field. He’s a natural leader. This is something that he has in him and has always had.”





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