Ex-Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira says he is flattered by suggestions from his former boss Arsene Wenger that he too could manage the Gunners one day.
Wenger, who became a club legend after managing Arsenal for 22 years, enjoyed his greatest success, the 2003-04 Invincibles season when his team won the Premier League without losing a game, by guiding a side that had Vieira at the heart of midfield, wearing the captain’s armband.
The younger Frenchman has since taken his first steps into coaching and managed a top-half finish in Ligue 1 with Nice in his first season in charge of the club.
His short reign has impressed Wenger, who said last month that Vieira has “constructed his career intelligently and patiently” after beginning his coaching career by becoming a youth-team manager at Manchester City and then taking charge of the first team at sister club New York City before moving to Nice this season.
Vieira has been tipped to succeed Didier Deschamps as France manager but Wenger believes a move to Arsenal is likely to happen first, with the Nice boss honoured by his former coach’s praise.
“I’m really privileged to have worked under Arsene and him saying that is really flattering,” he told Press Association Sport.
“If I manage Arsenal one day I will take him for dinner and I will pay the bill!
“He didn’t say it to put pressure [on me]. It’s just flattering that the guy who spent over 20 years there thinks I have the quality to manage a big club like Arsenal one day.”