Vieira: ‘I have nothing to say about Arsenal rumours’

Linked with a return to the club where he became an ‘Invincible’, the OGC Nice boss has denied that he is in the running to replace Unai Emery.

Patrick Vieira has distanced himself from the Arsenal job, stating that there is “nothing serious” in rumours linking him with a return to his former club.

Vieira joined Arsenal in 1996 and, as a disciple of Arsene Wenger, won three Premier League titles and three FA Cup finals. He was also a central figure in the ‘Invincibles’ team which went the entire 2003-04 season unbeaten in the league.

Now manager of OGC Nice, he has been touted as a potential successor to Unai Emery. He was originally linked with the job after Wenger’s departure last year, though Emery was ultimately the man appointed.

Asked this week about the possibility of a return to north London, however, Vieira was nonplussed. “I feel like it vexes you more than me or the club,” he said to the assembled press. “There is nothing to say about it. There is nothing serious, nothing real. I have no comments to make about that.”

Nice are currently mired in the bottom half of the table in Ligue 1, though they relieved some of the pressure with a win against Angers at the weekend. This is Vieira’s second season at the club, having joined them from MLS side New York City in the summer of 2018.

Fellow ‘Invincible’ Freddie Ljungberg is currently interim head coach at the Emirates, having stepped up in light of Emery’s sacking last week. He presided over a 2-2 draw against Norwich at the weekend which left Arsenal eighth in the Premier League.

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Other managers linked with role on a permanent basis include Massimiliano Allegri, Nuno Espirito Santo, Mikel Arteta, Rafa Benitez and, incredibly, Mauricio Pochettino, who was sacked as Tottenham boss last month and replaced by Jose Mourinho.

One man still backing Vieira is former Arsenal goalkeeper and teammate David Seaman. “I am sure Arsenal fans would love Patrick to come back to the club. Knowing Patrick, I think he would be the right man,” he told the Football Daily Podcast.

“I knew what he was like as a player. I knew what he was like as a captain. He was a born leader and everybody knows that. Maybe go down that route instead of a tried and tested route.”

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