The former Gunners star is now in the Crystal Palace hot-seat, but has offered his old club and their manager Mikel Arteta some advice on how to unearth Thomas Partey’s true potential
Vieira is now at the helm of Crystal Palace after his appointment at Selhurst Park in the summer, but his absence has been sorely felt since he kicked his final ball in an Arsenal shirt to win them the 2005 FA Cup.
Viewed by many as one of the best central midfielder’s in Premier League history – truthfully, Arsenal have failed to replace him in the just north of a decade and a half he has been gone, though they may finally have someone within their ranks worthy of comparisons with the Frenchman.
First and foremost, the Ghanaian has had more than his fair share of injuries – spending a large portion of his 12 months at Arsenal on the treatment table.
However, there is an argument to be made – one that Vieira seems to agree with, that Partey does not have the required talent around him to excel.
Speaking ahead of Monday night’s game against the Gunners, Vieira explained how having an array of star-studded names around him helped get the best out of him during his nine years at the club as a player.
“When I was playing I had Emmanuel Petit and Gilberto next to me, and Edu in the midfield. That was a really good partnership,” Viera claimed.
“The new players may not have had those players around them who allowed them to express themselves.
“I had Dennis or Thierry ahead of me, Sol and Martin and Tony behind me. They all made my job even easier.
“So it’s difficult to be critical of players who maybe didn’t have the same help around them.”
If Partey is Arsenal’s modern day Vieira, he is without his Petit equivalent.
Central midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga was signed from Anderlecht in the summer for a cool £17m fee, but has plenty of growing to do before he can help restore Arsenal to their former glories as Partey’s partner.
Hardly overflowing with a wealth of options in the middle of the park, Mohamed El-Neny is yet to convince the Emirates faithful after six years at the club while Granit Xhaka is the most divisive talent the Gunners have had for a while.
Action Images via Reuters)
Mikel Arteta oversaw Arsenal’s biggest transfer outlay this summer, forking out over £135m on six different talents.
Yet there were still calls from fans to purchase another midfielder – one that partners Partey, dislodges Xhaka and gives Lokonga someone to learn from.
That player never came and now Arteta has been given the clearest indicator yet that if Partey is to be the midfielder Arsenal have craved for so long – he must be surrounded by the kind of talent Vieira was.