By Joe Brewin
Arsène Wenger believes the signing of Patrick Vieira helped him win over the Arsenal fans at the start of his tenure.
Wenger was a relative unknown when he arrived at the Club in 1996 from Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight and when he got there Vieira was already in place, at the request of the new manager.
Vieira was an instant hit at Highbury, coming off the bench to make his debut in a 4-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday before going on to make 406 appearances – many of them as captain - over a nine-year spell.
“People like Patrick Vieira I have a lot of fond memories of - he was the first player I bought,” Wenger told a supporters’ Q&A at Emirates Stadium.
“When you buy your first one and he is the right one it gives you a lot of credit. I arrived here with little credit and Vieira, by coincidence, had the English qualities - he could battle with anybody - and also brought something from the technical French side.
“He had a great combination of the English fighting spirit, the bravery and the technical qualities of a midfielder.
“He is probably the one who gave me most credit and time to convince people that I could manage at this level.”
Watch the full Q&A in four parts on Arsenal Player.Copyright 2013 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 14 Dec 2011