Patrick Vieira is “ready to manage Arsenal,” according to his former Gunners team-mate Robert Pires.
Arsene Wenger took charge of his last game at Huddersfield on Sunday as the curtain came down on a 22-year spell at the helm.
Press Association Sport understands a number of Arsenal’s backroom staff have followed Wenger in leaving as the club prepare for life beyond the Frenchman.
Two former club captains Mikel Arteta and Vieira, currently head coach at New York City in the Major Soccer League, are among the favourites for the role.
Massimiliano Allegri of Juventus and former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti both continue to also be linked with the vacancy.
Arteta has, though, emerged as the front-runner and is reportedly the preferred choice of Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis.
The 36-year-old, however, holds no direct managerial experience, having served under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City since his retirement at the end of the 2015/2016 campaign.
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Vieira is also a firm favourite with Gunners’ fans, having helped drive Wenger’s Invincibles team through their unbeaten league season of 2003/2004.
Frenchman Pires – who enjoyed a successful six-year spell at Highbury before joining Villarreal in the summer of 2006 – believes all of the names linked could take on the role, but is in no doubt of the man he would like to see succeed Wenger.
“I have seen the shortlist: Allegri, Carlo Ancelotti, Mikel Arteta – why not? I think all of them could manage Arsenal,” Pires said in an interview with BTSport.com.
“There’s maybe a small advantage for Allegri and Ancelotti as they both have a lot of experience in Italy, Germany and England.
“With Vieira – and this is only my opinion – yes. Not just because he’s my friend. Forget this.
“He is doing very well with New York City, and he told me the job is very hard and difficult.
“However, he has a very good profile to replace Arsene Wenger, because he knows football, he knows the Premier League and of course, he knows Arsenal.
“So that’s why I say – yes, Patrick Vieira is ready to manage Arsenal.”
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