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'He is ready' - Guardiola backs NYCFC boss Vieira's ability to manage Arsenal

6:30 AM MYT 22/04/2018
Patrick Vieira New York City FC MLS
The MLS coach has been touted as a possible successor to the departing Arsenal boss, and the Man City manager believes he is ready for the challenge

Pep Guardiola believes Patrick Vieira has the capability to step in as Arsene Wenger's successor at Arsenal.

Vieira captained Arsenal during their golden period under Wenger at the start of this century, with his powerhouse midfield performances at the heart of their celebrated 2003-04 'Invincibles'.

The former France international went on to stints at Juventus and Inter before finishing his playing career at City.

He has stayed on the Etihad Stadium payroll, first as Elite Development Squad manager and now as head coach of New York City, who operate under the City Football Group umbrella.

The 41-year-old has been name checked among a host of candidates to step into Wenger's shoes after the long-serving Gunners boss announced he would step down at the end of the season on Friday.

And Guardiola feels he has seen enough during his two years at City to suggest Vieira is up to the challenge.

"Of course, he already is," the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach replied when asked whether Vieira can become a "top manager".

"Now, with what happened [Wenger's announcement] there is a lot of names there.

"Arsenal is going to take the best decision for them. But, of course, he is ready.

"I think all the names that are going to start to go – this name or this name or the other one – all of them, they are ready."

Vieira himself was not as eager to push his own credentials when the prospect of succeeding his old boss was put to him by New York radio station WNYE,  though he did say he was "flattered" by the links

But, speaking a day before he called time on his 22-year reign, Wenger was more of Guardiola's opinion.

"He's a guy who has the potential one day, yes," he told reporters on Thursday.

"I've followed his managerial career. I think he does very well but overall, this Premier League is special.

"You have to come in and there are plenty of former players who played here who have potential, the intelligence and knowledge to do it."

Vieira has his New York City side at the top of the MLS Eastern Conference standings, having picked up 17 points in seven matches so far this season.