Arsenal are ready to try and lure Patrick Vieira back to the Emirates by offering him the chance to shadow Arsene Wenger with a view to succeeding him, reports the Mirror.
The former Gunners captain has been learning his trade as a coach with Manchester City and is highly regarded at the Etihad. However, there are currently no plans to integrate Vieira into the first-team set-up.
Instead, their oil-rich owners have set their sights on Pep Guardiola, who they see as a long-term replacement to Manuel Pellegrini. Without a guarantee of career progression, Vieira may eventually have to look elsewhere to take his first steps into senior management.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250 word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay4
Arsenal's board have sensed the opportunity and are ready to make the World Cup winner an offer he cannot refuse to bring him back to north London.
They have taken inspiration from the line of succession currently underway at Manchester United. Ryan Giggs is learning the management trade from Louis van Gaal and is widely believed to be the favourite to succeed the Dutchman when his contract expires in 2017.
Guardiola would certainly be the first choice for a number of Arsenal fans, but the Spanish manager looks ready to take charge of a Premier League club next summer when Wenger will still have one-year remaining on his contract.
Like Giggs at Old Trafford, Vieira is an icon amongst Gunners fans, playing 406 times in a nine-year spell that saw him win three Premier League titles and four FA Cup triumphs.
Wenger's contract also expires in 2017, but reports from the same newspaper claimed the Gunners hierarchy were ready to offer Wenger a two-year extension after the team's impressive Premier League performances this season.
Arsenal find themselves level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City despite a disastrous opening day defeat to West Ham. As a result, a number of pundits – including Carlo Ancelotti – have backed them to compete for their first title since 2004.