Patrick Vieira Plays Down Arsenal Speculation: 'Nothing Serious, Nothing True'

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2019

Nice's French head coach Patrick Vieira reacts during the French L1 football match Nice (OGCN) vs Lille (OSC) on September 28, 2019 at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, southern France. (Photo by YANN COATSALIOU / AFP)        (Photo credit should read YANN COATSALIOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Patrick Vieira has played down rumours he's being lined up as Arsenal's next manager, saying there is nothing to the speculation.

Per Le10 Sport (h/t Sport Witness), the Nice boss was asked about the ongoing speculation and told reporters to stop worrying: "I'm getting the impression that it disturbs you more than it does me or the club. There's nothing to say on the subject. There's nothing serious, nothing true. I don't have any comments to say regarding that topic."

Earlier this season, Vieira told RMC'sĀ Team Duga show (h/t Goal'sĀ Robin Bairner) his ambition is to coach the Gunners one day. Since then, Unai Emery has been fired, and the club is currently being managed by interim-boss Freddie Ljungberg.

Nice's French coach Patrick Vieira attends the French L1 football match between Montpellier and Nice on September 14, 2019 at the Mosson stadium in Montpellier, southern France. (Photo by PASCAL GUYOT / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PASCAL GUYOT/A

Per the Mirror's John Cross, Arsenal have drawn up a 12-man shortlist for the position. The list includes the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Brendan Rodgers, Massimiliano Allegri, Mikel Arteta and Nuno Espirito Santo.

Interim boss Ljungberg could win the job for himself, according to the London Evening Standard's James Olley:

James Olley @JamesOlley

Exclusive: Freddie Ljungberg viewed as a genuine contender to be permanent #afc manager. A shortlist will be drawn up in the coming weeks but if Ljungberg triggers a big enough change in fortunes, he could get the job full time. https://t.co/utxSBlyoeK

The Gunners could follow the example of Manchester United and go with a club legend. The Red Devils appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on an interim basis in December 2018, before handing him the full reins in March.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman has already backed Vieira:

BBC Sport @BBCSport

Ex-Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira is the "right man" to become the new Gunners boss, according to David Seaman. As Arsenal search for a new manager for only the second time in 23 years, we look at who the top contenders might be. šŸ‘€ In full āž” https://t.co/jrVDz9iBEE https://t.co/PJxywdgMGC

The 43-year-old spent time at Manchester City in a youth development role, before moving to New York City FC in 2016. After two strong seasons in MLS, he moved to France to become the head coach of Nice.

Vieira spent almost a decade in north London as a player. A powerful midfielder with excellent technical and passing ability, he won three Premier League titles with the Gunners, and was a crucial member of the Invincibles during the 2003-04 campaign.

While he has yet to win major silverware as a manager, Vieira has shown tantalising potential at both New York City FC and Nice. Sport Witness' Tom Coast looked into his spell in France so far and noted his team's defensive resilience, despite the young average age of the players.

Defensive issues have held Arsenal back this season, so Vieira's strong work on that end of the pitch would be a welcome addition.