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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Patrick Vieira happy at New York City FC but ready if offered Arsenal role

Former Arsenal captain, who manages City Football Group-owned MLS side, linked with replacing Arsene Wenger in summer

<p>In this file photo taken on May 16, 2004 Arsenal team captain Patrick Vieira, left, and manager Arsene Venger&nbsp;celebrate their Premier League title. Martin Hayhow&nbsp;/ AFP</p>
<p>In this file photo taken on May 16, 2004 Arsenal team captain Patrick Vieira, left, and manager Arsene Venger&nbsp;celebrate their Premier League title. Martin Hayhow&nbsp;/ AFP</p>

Patrick Vieira says he is "ready to manage any team in Europe" but concedes it would be "difficult" to become Arsenal's new manager.

The former Arsenal captain is managing Major League Soccer side New York City, which is owned by City Football Group (CFG). Vieira, who has held a role with CFG since 2013, has been linked with replacing Arsene Wenger when his 22-year reign as Arsenal coach ends this summer.

Vieira, 41, claims he is "happy" to be linked with a return to London but he has vowed to continue in his role with New York City. "I mentally know what's going on, what people are saying and I'm really happy about that," Vieira told The Times.

"Honestly it's not something which will stop me doing what I am doing at the moment.

"It's an honour to be mentioned with Arsenal. It was somewhere I spent nine years and I love the club. I played my best football there and made my name in the game.

"I am always going to have a deeper relationship with Arsenal. That is not enough to coach the team but I'm ready to coach any side in Europe.

"I don't want this to be perceived that I want to go because I don't want to leave.

"I am ready. I think we're all doing this job because one day we want to coach the biggest teams in Europe."

With the MLS regular season set to end in October, and the MLS Cup final scheduled for December, Vieira's departure from New York City could leave CFG in a quandary.

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More on Wenger's succession

Are Arsene Wenger and Mick McCarthy last of long-serving managers?

Arsene Wenger stepping down so Arsenal can be 'respected' again

Life after Arsene Wenger: Who will replace Frenchman at Arsenal?

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"If the call came it would be really difficult," Vieira said. "It would be difficult because we will be in the middle of the season.

"And, like every time I've been approached by any teams, I'm sitting with the guys from the CFG and will let them know. They will make the decision because I am under contract."