Arsenal legends want Gunners hero Patrick Vieira to replace sacked manager Unai Emery

ARSENAL’s legends want Patrick Vieira to get the top job.

Former stars Emmanuel Petit, Ray Parlour, David Seaman and Alan Smith all believe Vieira, the skipper of the Invincibles, is the right man to replace axed Unai Emery.

 Patrick Vieira is the choice of his former team-mates to become the new Arsenal manager
Patrick Vieira is the choice of his former team-mates to become the new Arsenal managerCredit: AFP – Getty

The 43-year-old Vieira — currently manager of Ligue 1 side Nice — made more than 300 Premier League appearances for the North London side, winning three Premier League titles and three FA Cups.

Petit played alongside him in the Arsenal midfield during his three-year spell and the pair also shared World Cup glory with France in 1998.

He believes the decision to sack Emery was the correct one and that Vieira would bring the club’s identity back, despite the fact he is an outsider for the job.

The Paddy Power ambassador said: “We need a new manager to come in and change the mentality of the dressing room.

“Bring the team spirit with anger and what it means to wear the Arsenal shirt.

“To put the players on the pitch with confidence, because things can change.”

Coach Freddie Ljungberg has been put in temporary charge and Petit added: “Freddie knows the team very well, inside the dressing room.

“But I don’t know what exactly he can do as a manager because this is his first time.

“I would prefer to see Vieira on the bench.

“He’s been managing for several years now and what he’s doing with the young players at Nice is impressive.

“On top of that, we need to get the Arsenal brand back — in terms of playing style and club spirit.

“Arsenal isn’t the same any more, I don’t recognise this club, we are losing it.

“I think some people will regret Arsene Wenger leaving but Patrick can give us our identity back.”

Parlour, who made 379 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, is a fellow Invincible after helping the club go unbeaten in 2003-04 — and agrees Vieira is the right choice.

The former midfielder insisted: “I’ve always said Vieira.

“Of course it’s a gamble . . . a massive gamble but every manager is a gamble. How did Pep Guardiola start his career, how did Jurgen Klopp? You need that lucky break sometimes.

“I know for a fact it would be like Frank Lampard at Chelsea — players respect Patrick, he’s been at the club and fans would give him a chance.”

Former Gunners keeper Seaman thinks his old team-mate Vieira would be a manager the disillusioned fans would get behind.

He said: “I am sure Arsenal fans would love Patrick to come back to the club.

“Knowing Patrick, I think he would be the right man.

“I knew what he was like as a player. I knew what he was like as a captain.

“He was a born leader and everybody knows that. Maybe go down that route instead of a tried-and-tested route.”

Ex-Arsenal striker Smith — who scored the first goal in the Gunners’ infamous title win at Anfield in 1989 — believes Vieira fits the criteria but that Manchester City assistant coach Mikel Arteta is a strong contender.

Smith said: “There are a lot of managers who will be desperate to land that job.

“It is a plum role at arguably the biggest club in London in terms of the history and the success.

 Unai Emery was sacked after going seven games without a win
Unai Emery was sacked after going seven games without a winCredit: Rex Features

“I would like to see a younger more innovative coach get the job, someone like a Vieira. Players these days need good coaching, something to inspire them and keep them interested and motivated.

“From that point of view the coaching has to be spot on.

“He is the kind of coach who could do that.

“Arteta was close to getting the job last time and the club ducked out of it at the last minute.

“But you have only got to ask Pep Guardiola about him as a coach and a potential manager.”

Paul Merson, who played under George Graham and Wenger during his Arsenal career, has demanded a bolder decision from the board — former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino.

The Argentine was replaced at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium by Jose Mourinho last week but Merse is still a big fan.

Merson said: “He’s a top manager and he’s about at the moment.

“I know he managed at Tottenham but George Graham had been at Arsenal when he went the other way.

“You’ve got to get past that sort of stuff.

“These top managers don’t come along too often, where you don’t even have to pay anything for them.

“Can I see it happening? No. Should it happen? Yes. But it won’t happen.”

Arsenal fans are keen for a new manager like Pochettino, Howe, Nuno or Benitez to take over the Gunners


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