By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger says that a return to Arsenal would be Patrick Vieira’s “first-choice” if he came back to England but the manager would not confirm if he is actually interested in re-signing the midfielder.
The 33-year-old has been strongly linked with a move to North London in recent weeks. If you are prepared to believe the English newspapers both Arsenal and Tottenham are keeping close tabs on the Inter star.
Speaking at his pre-Emirates Cup press conference, Wenger admitted he has been in contact with his former captain but would not reveal if that was with a view to bringing him back.
"I speak to Patrick,” he said. “I speak to many players who have been here because I keep good connections with them.
"He has gone through a difficult period in the last season and I am aware that he wants to come here.
"I think Patrick is a legend here and he would always like to come back to this Club. That would be his first choice.
"He is a professional footballer with emotion and you always like the club where you’ve spent time. But as a professional as well, you always give 100 per cent for whichever club you sign for.”
If Wenger did bring back Vieira it would be unprecedented; the manager has never re-signed a player he has sold from Arsenal. The manager explained why it is not a straightforward evaluation.
"At the moment we need to look at the level of experience in our squad to make this kind of decision,” he said.
"There is a football decision and then there's the psychological impact of a player of that stature coming in.
"We are nowhere near to making a decision like that. But it is a possibility. We don't rule it out and we don't say we will do it. That's my decision at the moment.”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