Vieira's future at Arsenal under the scanner

Arsene Wenger warned Patrick Vieira that he is more likely to win medals with Arsenal than Real Madrid.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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Arsene Wenger warned Patrick Vieira that he is more likely to win medals with Arsenal than Real Madrid as he made a last-ditch plea for his captain to complete his mission at Highbury. Wenger remains adamant that Vieira will be staying put despite the moves being made by Real to lure him to La Liga. Battle of wills The two clubs seem to be locked in a battle of wills over any price-tag, while Vieira himself has yet to agree personal terms at the Bernabeu, thereby fuelling Wenger's confidence. 3000 Arsenal fans were at Highbury on Friday, August 6 hoping for some positive information regading the future of their captain Patrick Vieira. Reports linking Vieira with a move to Real Madrid continue to overshadow the start of Arsenal's defense of their Premier League title. But as each day passes and no deal with the Spanish giants completed, Arsenal fans grow more confident that Vieira will stay. "I think he owes a lot to Arsene Wenger who when we bought him was a virtual unknown. Now he's a world class player. He's won the World Cup, the Premiership with us, he obviously wants to win the Champions League which may be his draw to go to Real Madrid but they haven't even qualified for it yet, so who knows?" said an Arsenal fan. "Wenger is a straight forward guy and he's always said if a player is going at the end of the day and as far as I can tell, I think it's all Spanish media hype. They keep stirring it up year after year. Ih he was going he would have been gone by now because thy really would have wanted him for the Champions League qualifiers. He's not going, he owes a lot to Wenger," said another fan. The prize club Wenger knows that Real Madrid usually get their man. The lure of playing for the most successful club in Europe can be hard to resist. But he believes that to leave now would be folly. Arsenal won the Premiership without losing a single match - a historic feat by any standards. Wenger is confident this team is capable of much much more. "I think every player who leaves Arsenal makes a mistake - that's quite simple - for Patrick and for anybody else," said Wenger. Vieira has been at the club for eight years and the Arsenal boss is hoping his captain will complete the task of turning the Gunners into the finished European article. He's banking on his Vieira's close friends, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires to persuade him to stay. Vieira has reportedly argued that Arsenal have not signed any world class players. Young talent That's not Wenger's style - he nurtures young talent like he's hoping to do with Jose Reyes. It takes time to build a big club and Wenger wants Vieira to help him finish what he has started. Arsene Wenger is one of the most respected managers in the world, not least by his captain. It speaks volumes that Vieira has not already left. He was present at Highbury stadium today but did not take part in training due to a thigh injury. So far he has failed to issue any reassurance to the Arsenal fans, adding substance to reports that he is tempted by a fresh challenge in Spain. Real Madrid have won the European Cup a record nine times - Arsenal have never won it. So where lies the challenge? Only Vieira can tell us. (AP)