NYCFC's Patrick Vieira: No contact with Arsenal about replacing Arsene Wenger
ORANGEBURG, New York -- New York City FC manager Patrick Vieira says that no one from Arsenal has contacted him about replacing Arsene Wenger at the Emirates.
Wenger announced last week that he would step down at the conclusion of the current EPL campaign after spending 22 seasons with the Gunners.
Vieira, who captained Arsenal during some of the club's biggest moments, including "The Invincibles" season of 2003-04, has been mentioned as a possible replacement.
Speaking to reporters at the ribbon-cutting for NYCFC's new training ground, Vieira answered with a firm "no" when asked if he had been contacted, and quipped "I'm sure [the press] will know before I do," if Arsenal reaches out.
When asked if it was an honor to be linked with the Gunners, Vieira said: "Of course, because you're talking about Arsenal Football Club, and it's a big football club, it's an honor, but I have never been in touch."
Vieira did express some empathy for what Wenger went through during his last years at Arsenal, a period when the hostility from fans increased as the Gunners became less of a contender for the league title and failed to qualify for the Champions League last season.
Vieira said he paid Wenger a visit last December following Arsenal's 3-3 home draw to Liverpool, and that it was difficult to watch his old boss experience such a trying time.
"I know how committed he is to this football club, and it's not easy to go through what [Wenger] went through," he said.
But Vieira said he could still take away some lessons from how Wenger carried himself.
"You know that you will have a [tough] time during the season, where one day you are the best coach and the next day you will be the worst," said Vieira.
"It's all about, I believe, how you can be consistent in yourself, in how you have to be consistent with the media, with the fans, with your players. I think it's not about having this rollercoaster where when you are doing well you are [up] there and when you are down ... no, it's about being consistent.
"That is something I take with the meeting when I saw [Wenger] last time."
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.