July 23rd, 2004 • 7:33 am
This time, it’s starting to look like Vieira is going to be lured by the Spanish sirens of Real Madrid after all. Nothing is done yet, but the signs are there: Arsène Wenger saying that it’s “up to Patrick Vieira“; Arsenal is buying and chasing midfielders; Arsenal is buying more players than they said they were going to buy, which seems to indicate that they anticipate a cash influx; and Vieira himself is remaining silent.
It is, of course, a major disappointment, because Vieira can be such an outstanding player and, of course, he has been the captain of the team for a couple of years now. His departure would be a major blow for the team.
The reasons given for the move are predictable: Arsenal have never won anything in Europe, and Real Madrid have won the Champions’ League so many times… But Vieira’s move would contradict all the talk about “building” something special with Arsenal. In Madrid, Vieira will be “just another” galatico. With Arsenal, he could be the major force behind the rise of the club to European prominence and really make history.
No one can read Vieira’s mind, but it’s a bit hard to imagine that he can’t see the difference. Of course, there’s no guarantee that Arsenal can achieve this — but then, there’s no guarantee that Real Madrid will win the Champions’ League again either. You just have to look at what happened last year… On paper, they probably have a better chance. But isn’t it time for a “reversal of power” at the European level as well?
I guess we’ll know more in the next few weeks. But the longer we have to wait, the more likely it will be that Vieira’s decision is to move on.