Patrick Vieira Discusses 'Disappointment' over Lack of Arsenal Coaching Role

Chris LakerFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2016

LATINA, ITALY - MARCH 17:  Manchester City head coach Patrick Vieira looks on during the UEFA Youth League Quarter Final match between AS Roma and Manchester City on March 17, 2015 in Latina, Italy.  (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images for UEFA)
Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Patrick Vieira has revealed his disappointment at not being offered a coaching role at Arsenal.

The former France international spent nine years with the Gunners, where he won three titles and was part of the "Invicibles" side of 2003-04 that went unbeaten throughout the Premier League season. 

However, after never being asked to join the coaching staff at Arsenal, he took a role with Manchester City's youth teams and is now coach at Major League Soccer side New York City FC.

Vieira told French radio station RMC (h/t Aaron Flanagan for the Daily Mirror) of his disappointment:

It's true that after spending nine years at Arsenal it is the club of my heart.

It's where I played my best football.

I would've liked for the door to be open to me or other players who have spent time at Arsenal and would like to get into the coaching profession.

Unfortunately, that was not the case.

I was very lucky to get to Manchester City at the right time.

But it is true that it leaves a bit of disappointment at Arsenal.

During his playing days with the Gunners, Vieira enjoyed a formidable midfield partnership with fellow Frenchman Emmanuel Petit.

The duo became big favourites of Arsenal supporters during a period of success under manager Arsene Wenger in the late 1990s.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM:  Arsenal team captain Patrick Vieira (L) and manager Arsene Wenger wave from the open-top bus carrying the winners of the British Premier League Championship, Arsenal players and their families, on  its way to Islington Town Hall,1

Some former Arsenal players have had roles on the staff at the Emirates Stadium, including Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg. However, another former club captain, Mikel Arteta, left the club this summer to take his first coaching steps under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

It is not the first time, Vieira, capped 107 times for France has spoken out about his former club's backroom policy. Per Alec Shilton for the Sun, he said earlier this year: "I'm disappointed not to have ex-Arsenal players working at Arsenal."

Per the same source, Vieira added:

Players want to do it but do not have the opportunity. I don't understand it.

The perfect example is Ajax. You see all the old players working for the club, on the field, in the office—the door is always open for them—but Arsenal don’t do it and I don't know why.

Vieira impressed while in charge of Manchester City's Elite Development Squad for two years, which led to him taking up the challenge of managing the MLS side, New York City FC.

It is a surprise that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has never approached Vieira. As someone who the Arsenal manager trusted so implicitly to lead his team into battle, it is a mystery as to why his experience and knowledge wasn't retained by the club.

LONDON - SEPTEMBER 11:  Arsene Wenger of Arsenal talks with Patrick Vieira during the Barclays Premiership match between Fulham and Arsenal at Craven Cottage on September 11, 2004 in London.  (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
Phil Cole/Getty Images

It could be argued that Vieira is such a commanding, imposing presence that Wenger could have felt undermined or maybe the former midfielder's coaching ambitions just didn't tally with those of his experienced compatriot.

Pablo Maurer for alluded to an aura that Vieira still possesses and a playing CV which "gives him instant credibility with his players."

Adam Hunger/Associated Press

At times over past trophy-barren years, Arsenal have arguably been lacking this kind of aura both on and off the field.

His experience, leadership and international standing would have been a huge boost to the Londoners, and it is likely to be only a matter of time before Vieira returns to Europe in charge of a big club.


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