Patrick Vieira should replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, says Robert Pires

Robert Pires has backed Patrick Vieira as his choice to replace Arsene Wenger as manager of Arsenal, saying he has a “small advantage” over Mikel Arteta.

Both of the club’s former midfielders are being suggested as potential successors to Wenger, who will leave the club after almost 22 years following Sunday’s game at Huddersfield.

More experienced coaches such as Luis Enrique, Carlo Ancelotti and Juventus manager Max Allegri are also thought to be in the running, but Pires, an Arsenal player from 2000 to 2006, thinks the club could pursue a younger option, with New York City boss Vieira standing out more to him than Manchester City assistant Arteta.

He told Sky Sports News: “We have a lot of candidates to replace Arsene Wenger and we can see the same names.

“We talk about Allegri, Ancelotti, Luis Enrique… My two friends Patrick Vieira and Mikel Arteta too. I don’t know who the next manager is for Arsenal but they need to find the right philosophy.

“They can’t have the same philosophy as Arsene Wenger. My choice? If the board want a manager with a lot of experience, it’s maybe someone like Luis Enrique or Ancelotti.

“But if they want to start with a new project, it’s Vieira or Arteta. Comparing them, Patrick has a small advantage because he is doing very well with New York this season.

“Mikel is not a number one, although I think he has learned a lot under Pep Guardiola as he is one of the best managers.

“Patrick has a very good profile to replace Arsene Wenger. He spent nine seasons at Arsenal so he knows the club and the fans. I know some fans want to see him on the bench too.”

Wenger’s own future is unclear and while the 68-year-old is understood to have received a number of job offers, he could also decide to take a break from football.

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In the meantime, his focus will be on trying to end his reign with a result befitting of the three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups he has won in his time in London.

Arsenal are the only team in England’s top four divisions yet to pick up an away point in 2018 after a run of seven consecutive defeats.

Pires insists he will be looking at changing that at Huddersfield on Sunday rather than anything further ahead.

He added: “It’s an emotional week and his last game will be an emotional day for Arsene Wenger on Sunday against Huddersfield.

“When we talk about Arsene Wenger, the most important thing is to talk about the positives.

“He has spent a lot of time at the club. He is in love with Arsenal so now, for him and the club, it is important to finish well.”

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