Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger recalled the way he managed to sign French midfielder Patrick Vieira to the North London club. He joined the Gunners in 1996 and played until 2005.
Arsene Wenger was asked about Vieira and the Frenchman revealed that he signed his long time target as soon as he got an opportunity to bring him at Arsenal. Wenger revealed that he was at Monaco when he first saw a glimpse of Vieira, a 17 year old teenager then who made Claude Puel look ‘weak’. And then Monaco boss made his mind that he needs to sign the player.
“So after the game I went straight away to ask the manager of Caen, who is this guy? And I told him straight away this guy would make a big career, and very quickly he made a move to Milan,” he said.
Wenger also added,
“In Milan he didn’t play and Milan made him available. I was in Japan and straight away said look, we have to buy this player! I think what is fantastic is because that was 96, and since 96 everybody in the Premier League looks for a Patrick Vieira. That’s the best tribute that you can give to Patrick.
“He had the charisma as a player, on the pitch but as well off the pitch and overall he was not scared of anybody. You could go with Patrick Vieira to Sheffield United on a Tuesday night in November and he could turn up and fight like mad.”
The legendary Arsenal manager also compared Vieira with another Gunners legend Tony Adams, but also said that Vieira was more of a natural leader compared to Adams, who was more of a vocal one.
Patrick Vieira made a total of 406 appearances, and won three league titles with the Gunners, most famously the Invincibles in the 2003-04 season.