By Nick Teale
Arsène Wenger says he has huge respect for Patrick Vieira, a man he says will always be an Arsenal legend.
The French midfielder is set to return to his former club when his current employers Manchester City visit Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Vieira made 406 appearances for the Gunners in nine years with the Club and was captain of the ‘Invincibles’ side which completed an unbeaten title campaign in 2003/04.
He left in 2005 to join Juventus but moved to Inter Milan a year later after the Turin club were relegated to Serie B. He spent three and a half years at the San Siro before returning to the Premier League with City in January.
Speaking ahead of Saturday's clash with Roberto Mancini's side, Wenger underlined his admiration for his former captain.
"I respect hugely what he has done," he said. "He was a massive success with Arsenal, is a legend here and will always remain so.
"Arsenal was massive for him. But it was also important for him to play when he came back to England. He left Inter because he wanted to play. In the end, I was not involved at all when he went to Manchester City.
"The signing was very quick. Of course I am always interested in Patrick, for me he was a special player here. We arrived here together.
“I respect hugely what he has done. He was a massive success with Arsenal, is a legend here and will always remain so. Maybe it is better like that.”Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source