Spurs fans have endured a frustrating summer so far, the Lillywhites sitting on the sidelines so far during the transfer window as they watch their peers acquiring new assets. Didier Zokora’s Â£8.5 million move to Sevilla has so far been the only activity at White Hat Lane but momentum appears to be building towards a controversial swoop for former Gunner Patrick Vieira.
Vieira’s status in England is legendary after the French midfielder proved to one of the leading stars in the first decade of the Premier League. Plucked from AC Milan by Arsene Wenger in 1996, Vieira went on to record 279 appearances for Arsenal including 29 goals. At Highbury Vieira won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups, as well as eventually being appointed club captain.
(Video evidence of Patrick Vieira during his time at Arsenal can be seen here.)
Back then Vieira was without doubt one of the top midfielders in world football. He had the total package; the height, stamina and physical strength combined with the technique, quick feet and never-say-die attitude which made him Roy Keane’s most worthy adversary.
Sadly, those memories of Vieira are long-gone. Today, at 33, the Frenchman has lost his edge after four seasons in Serie A and should he return to Britain with Spurs it will likely be that his previously idolised image becomes somewhat blemished forever.
Age has caught up with the marauding Vieira, killing his most important attribute of his physicality and dominance in the centre of the park. With his legs unable to glide across midfield as they did when playing for the Professor, Vieira has been marginalised at the San Siro. Jose Mourinho only handed Vieira 22 appearances last season and should he stay at Inter his standingÂ is set to slide further.
Nevertheless, should Spurs be able to engineer Inter to release Vieira from his contract early, then Spurs are reported to be eager to sign up their former enemy on a one-year contract paying Â£70,000-a-week.
The Independent’s Sam Wallace, though, sees sense in Tottenham’s pursuit of one of Arsenal’s greats: “Vieira offers what Redknapp has long complained is absent in his Spurs squad. He wants a player of sufficient standing and authority to unify the players and set some examples at the training ground. In Vieira he sees a ready-made leader who would prove valuable in his influence throughout the squad… Redknapp has sold Didier Zokora to Seville this summer and would listen to offers for Jermaine Jenas. Ideally he would like to keep Tom Huddlestone. With Wilson Palacios signed from Wigan in January, competition for places in the centre of midfield would be about right should he be able to persuade Vieira to join.”
A video showing some of Patrick Vieira’s goals at Inter Milan can be seen here.