Arsenal: 5 Players They're Pursuing to Replace Patrick Vieira

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Arsenal: 5 Players They're Pursuing to Replace Patrick Vieira
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

It is no minor detail that Arsenal's trophy drought has coincided exactly with a large Patrick Vieira-shaped hole in midfield.

Of all the big-name players Arsenal have lost in the past few years, Vieira was arguably the most damaging—even though the timing of his sale was probably adroit—simply because he was never adequately replaced.

At the time, the emergent Cesc Fabregas claimed his role with such aplomb, the loss was hardly felt.

And as the general ethos in world football has shifted emphasis from physique to technique, it hasn't always been clear that a player in the Vieira mould was strictly necessary.

Yet Arsene Wenger himself—often criticised for seeming to favour small, tricky players over more direct power and height—has been reluctant to abandon the template, as his persistent faith in Abou Diaby has shown.

But as that faith becomes more and more unjustified in light of chronic injuries and marginal influence, Arsenal may be turning to the transfer market finally to replace Vieira.

Here are five players Arsenal are said to be pursuing this summer to fill that hole in midfield, plus an assessment of their credentials in three of Vieira's great strengths: skill, physical presence and character.

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