Arsenal didn’t contact me about vacant manager role – Vieira

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vieira

Nice boss Patrick Vieira has denied holding talks with Arsenal prior to Mikel Arteta’s appointment as head coach.

Arteta officially began work at Emirates Stadium on Sunday after agreeing a three-and-a-half-year deal to succeed Unai Emery last week.

Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi said he and technical director Edu spoke to ‘several top-class candidates,’ one of which was rumoured to be Vieira.

Former Gunners captain Vieira was linked with the role throughout the recruitment process but, in an interview with Canal Football Club, claimed there was no substance to the speculation.

Asked if he had been contacted, Vieira – who has also been linked to David Beckham’s MLS franchise Inter Miami – said: “No. It’s flattering seeing your name everywhere but I am under contract with Nice.

“I have known since I arrived how lucky I am to be involved with this club’s project. I don’t have any intention or desire to go and look elsewhere.”

Nice finished seventh in their first season under Vieira and sit 10th in Ligue 1 at the halfway mark this term.

The 1998 World Cup winner said qualifying for Europe was part of his long-term plan for the club.

“The objective is to play in the Champions League one day, but it will take time,” he said.

Vieira made 279 Premier League appearances for the Gunners between 1996 and 2005 while long-term manager Arsene Wenger was in charge.

Playing in a defensive midfield role, the Frenchman scored 29 goals in the English top-flight during a successful period for the club.

He won three Premier League titles and three FA Cups before moving on to Juventus at the age of 29.

After one season at Juventus, Vieira moved on to Inter, where he won four consecutive Serie A titles.

He also returned to England with Manchester City across two season between 2010-11, lifting the FA Cup in his final campaign before retirement.

Arsenal haven’t won a league title since the ‘Invincibles’ season in 2002-03, when Vieira skippered the club to an unbeaten campaign.

The Gunners currently sit in 11th position, nine points behind London rival Chelsea in the fourth place.

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