From the moment he stepped onto the Highbury turf, you sensed that Patrick Vieira would be something special.
The 20-year-old became the hub of the Arsenal side, was pivotal to the early success of Arsène Wenger's era and gives our Dream Team a world-class powerhouse to kick off its midfield quartet.
"I don't think a lot of players have done what he has done for this Club. He has been a big inspiration for me. He came here when he was 20 and he got the same sort of confidence from the manager. He has won so many things, not just with Arsenal but with France."
It’s hard to fathom now that Vieira was a relative unknown when he arrived alongside Wenger in 1996. He went on to help reinvigorate the Club with two domestic Doubles and an historic unbeaten Premier League campaign.
Under the guidance of his compatriot, Vieira blossomed into one of the world’s finest, a remarkable athlete who could both win the ball and distribute it effectively.
Vieira is a perfect addition to our all-time XI because his graft went hand-in-hand with craft. The composure and quality of his passing means that, as well as quelling the threat of the opposition, he would be a vital cog in our Dream Team machine.
His bite and enthusiasm made him one of Arsenal’s most influential players and, although his goals weren’t frequent, when they did arrive they were invariably spectacular or crucial.
And if the all-time XI are ever up against it, no one will have more passion for the cause than Vieira. Who can forget those infamous battles with Manchester United captain Roy Keane?
Our Dream Team now has its driving force.
NO 4 PATRICK VIEIRA
Selected in 93 per cent of teams
"I respect hugely what he has done. He was a massive success with Arsenal, is a legend here and will always remain so. I feel I have done well for Patrick in his life, so I am rather proud of what we have achieved together. He has done so well for nine years for us, who has given us nine top, top years? A few players before, but of the foreign players I can only remember Patrick [and Bergkamp]."
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