Manchester City coach Patrick Vieira, who made more appearances than anyone under Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, is being considered as long-term successor to the Gunners manager, FootballDirectNews.com understands.
The decorated midfielder played a record 402 times for the north London club, a higher turnout rate than any past or present Arsenal player in Wenger’s 18-year reign.
He skippered them to their last piece of silverware – the FA Cup in 2005 – and became a club legend during nine trophy-laden years in the capital.
While Wenger, who takes charge of his 1,000th Arsenal game against Chelsea this afternoon, is widely-expected to pen a fresh contract extension in the coming weeks, directors inevitably have to plan for the long-term. A source close to the Emirates Stadium told FDN that club spies have been impressed by Vieira’s impact this season at the helm of City’s Elite Development Squad. Arsenal will, however, face a battle to engineer an emotional return for the 37-year-old, as Blues chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak said as recently as last summer that he has the potential to one day manage City’s first-team.