Former Gunner Vieira frustrated at Arsenal coaching role snub

Patrick Vieira has admitted that he is annoyed that he was never given the chance to become a coach at Arsenal when deciding to hang up his playing boots.

The former Gunners captain was allowed to leave the club to join Juventus, which was later revealed as decided because the progression of Cesc Fabregas was more important to the club at the time.

Wenger previously revealed: ‘When Cesc Fabregas was 18, 19, I would play him in a 4-4-2 with Patrick Vieira and I saw it did not work. Then I had the decision to make about letting Patrick go, because Gilberto Silva and Vieira worked, Fabregas and Silva worked, but I could not play Fabregas and Vieira. But Fabregas was 19 and if he did not play I knew he would want to go, so we risked destroying everything, all the work we had put into this player.’

Vieira eventually returned to England when joining big-spending Manchester City, which may have angered his former French boss, and may have been one of the reasons why he was never asked to return to the Emirates when retiring from playing.

Patrick has now revealed that it is Arsenal that still holds his heart, and his one regret is at not having had the chance to learn from his former boss, who got the most out of him from his nine years spent in North-London.

Vieira said: ‘It’s true that after spending nine years at Arsenal, it’s the club of my heart – the one where I played my best football – I would have liked if the door was more open to me or other players who spent time there and who would have wanted to learn their career as a coach.

‘Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I was lucky to arrive at Manchester City at the right moment, but it’s true that it leaves a little disappointment with regards to Arsenal.

‘I don’t think that [myself, Thierry Henry or others] have the ambition to claim the spotlight at Arsenal, because it’s not possible. Things must be done naturally.

‘I don’t know the demands of everyone, but in my case I just expected a call to ask me if I would go and learn my craft at Arsenal – without taking the place of the U21 or U19 coach, because they are good at their job.’

The former midfielder is currently plying his trade in the MLS, and as manager led his side New York City team to finish second last term to secure a place in the play-offs.

Did Vieira’s switch to Man City ultimately end any chance he could have had at coming back to Arsenal? Or maybe Wenger didn’t see how he could accommodate him within his current team of coaching staff?

Pat J

Tags Man City Patrick Vieira Wenger


  1. Pablo Picaso says:

    I am looking at this both ways,

    1. If Viera really wanted a job at the club he should have just asked rather than waiting for an offer that never came. Another club great that was offered a job couldn’t fully dedicate to the club in TH14. At least they have there old mate as assistant though.

    2. Wenger should have dedicated the past 10 or so years moulding a successor, why let potential good managers in Viera, Arteta, Bergkamp, all go. Look how well Zidani is doing and how well Pep did for Barca. We risk passing through what Man U is currently passing through because of not having a proper succession plan. I just don’t see Bould taking up the job and achieving anything near to what Wenger has through out the years.

    One worrying statement in Viera’s interview was “Arsene does what he wants”. No one man should have all that power.

  2. Jansen says:

    I can only guess and speculate based on what I see. It seems possible to me, that Wenger, who is pretty much a lone ruler, doesn’t like other high profile Arsenal legends around him.

    I don’t think this has to do with Vierra going to City. After all, it was Wenger’s decision to let him leave. Wenger also threw up road blocks for Henry.

    I believe getting former legends of the club involved at all levels of the academy is invaluable in installing the Arsenal spirit in the young kids. I hope we will become better at this in the future.

    1. Gworm says:

      Surely Pat Rice, Liam Brady and Steve Bould are legends enough? Bob Wilson was our goalkeeping coach for years, and Thierry Henry and Robert Pires have both been involved training with the youth and first team squads in the past couple of seasons. I could go on, but basically there are only so many jobs to go round.
      Patrick has had a chance to learn from several top coaches at Man City and it won’t have hurt him to be exposed to different ideas, especially considering that many on this forum feel Wenger’s ideas are outdated.

  3. RSH says:

    All Vieira does is insult Arsenal now, it’s boring.

    1. Trudeau says:

      I agree that Viera has been negative to Arsenal in the past but don’t think this is an example. It’s kind of nice to hear him say that Arsenal is still in his heart. These words speak more of regret to me, not anger or insult.

  4. Break-on-through says:

    I’d be willing to believe that Wenger could foresee a popular threat to his throne had he taken Vieira on, and Vieira ultimately became his no2. In theory it sounds plausible. The thing is though we don’t know enough about what was going through peoples heads. It’s strange for a club not to even offer our legend a place. I know we offered Bergkamp and Adams a role and they are as big as Vieira ever was, so no, I don’t believe it is because Wenger feared having someone of stature waiting in the wings.

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