Goodbye Vieira

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So that’s it then. The end of an era.

We all knew he’d probably go at some stage, and that time has now come.

I know of no Arsenal fan who doesn’t wish him well – even if some of us wish he hadn’t gone. For nine years, he has driven our team on, given his all and proved himself to be one of the top midfield generals in the world. Aggressive, technically adept, athletic and fearless, he’s the epitome of the perfect holding midfielder, and when Wenger describes him as “one of the greatest [players] in the club’s history”, he’s spot on. You don’t get many Patrick Vieiras to the pound, and we’ll miss him – a lot.

I hope his move is a success – what more can you say?

Obviously, his departure leaves a chunky hole in our squad, and renders us temporarily captainless. Finding an adequate replacement has got to be one of Wenger’s toughest jobs in his nine years here. Flamini and Fabregas are superb young players, but only time will tell whether they are anything like as good as Vieira. Finding a direct replacement with as much experience is, let’s be honest, not going to happen.

So Wenger needs to ship in a reinforcement, but God knows who that could be.

Did we get a fair price for him? I think so. We’ve made a £10m profit on him, for starters, and for a player his age, £13.75m has got to be good business. Talk of getting £20m is just fanciful, if you ask me.

So the Vieira era – three titles, four FA Cups, a UEFA Cup Final – sails off into the sunset, and a new one will begin.

Sad times, but exciting ones.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 78 Comments

  1. Ashbourne Indi

    I salute PV for all he’s done for the Club. (Will never forget then amazing 2nd season partnership with EP).

    Thankyou Paddy for all the great memories and trophies.

  2. Ashbourne Indi

    I salute PV for all he’s done for the Club. (Will never forget then amazing 2nd season partnership with EP).

    Thankyou Paddy for all the great memories and trophies.

  3. Austingunner

    Could it be that they are selling Paddy so that they can entice Ashley to stay with the captaincy??? Plus this could be the money they needed to sign Bautista or perhaps SWP right?

  4. uncle fester

    AU REVOIR Paddy good luck,the king is dead long live the king. I think its best for all parties concerned if Paddy wanted new challenges fine the Arse dont want anyone not really commited i think this will gel the team as they know the score make TH14 CAPTAIN NOW and move on when AW said trust us we will be strong thats good enough for me.I still think this was done with AW’S blessing .Now the fun starts who’s coming Pele,Maradona,King Canute or Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

  5. bulz

    and hopefully the beginnign of a new one…. when you think about it nine years is a lot. how long can you go in one club… not a lot of poeple can do that. i fully agree with his reasons for leaving and think that they are adquate. i also like wenger’s reply.

  6. bongo et al

    As I have said many times b4 The Alsatian is a stickler for detail.
    He obviously thinks PV’s best days are behind him. And that the body can not take too many more hacks from the likes of Blackburn, Bolton Man u., Etc.
    We salute and thank Patrick – because all proper Arsenal fans know he was a true Arsenal Legend. His courage, skill and presence has won us countless battles- numerous games. He does not showboat! he does not do the Funky Budha Set!He doesnot sulk os strut! He has been a terrific warrior.
    The move will re-invigorate him and it WILL RE-INVIGORATE US!
    Long live the Lanky One!
    Bongo et al

  7. RotorGoat

    We’d never get Uncle Tom Cobbley and all, surely.

  8. n

    Well TA said it … and if his legs aren’t the same length then he will never be any good in his 30s … sad day. He was a cvnt last summer though – and an avergae captain

  9. Mada

    No doubt in my mind Arsene has pushed him out, so either we’re buying a replacement fit to wear the number 4 (Ballack anyone?), or it was simply a case of getting money for him while we still can because if he were to have had another mediocre season he would be worth next to nothing after next season. The fact that announced the deal before Vieira had actually agreed personal terms says it all. Whatever Paddy says about leaving to face new challenges, it’s a cover for the fact he was pushed out. Wenger had always said in previous seasons when asked if Vieira was going to Real that it was not gonna happen, but when asked last night Wenger said, “It’s up to him”.

    Good luck Paddy, we really will miss you, but players are temporary, Arsenal are forever!

  10. uncle fester

    well said Bongo i agree with you we need a shake up players get to comfortable, no just uncle tom cobley

  11. andy brown

    saint patrick vieira has left,this is a sad day in the club s history.but it s only the start of another era. mr wenger is the back bone of arsenal football club.Vieira will live long in r heart s and never b 4 gotten.VIEIRA OOO OOOOOOOOO VIEIRA OOOO OOOOOOOOO.

  12. bongo et al

    To Rotorgoat.
    Flippancy is not an admirable trait!
    Obviously, the A406 trek is effecting your solitary brain cell! Have you tried that spanish/italian cd i suggested?
    a boiling bongo et al

  13. femi

    i feel so sad, what can i say it had to happen, its a GAMBLE, WILL IT PAY OFF , I DONT KNOW, but i sure will miss him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. g00ner

    I’m sad Paddy is leaving us, it was kind of inevitable that he would go one day, but I had pictured him leading the team out at the Emirates. I wish him well, he’s been a fantastic player for us and will be sorely missed.

    My questions now are:

    A) Who does Wenger have his eyes on, surely he must have someone sorted before allowing Paddy to leave?

    B) Who will be our new captain? Ash is a candidate, but is he going to stay and is he mature enough? What about Sol, probably the obvious choice but there’s talk of him being unhappy. TH14 would seem to be the next candidate, but Thierry has mood swings and I’m not a big fan of strikers being captain. I could see Big Phil being the man, but not for another couple of years.

  15. edmondy

    As i posted on arseblog:

    This has affected me more than I thought it would.

    Vieira has been at the club since I was 11/12. As Arsenal has been a part of my life (in greater or smaller doses) every year since then, so has he.

    I can’t believe we will never watch Vieira play in an Arsenal shirt again. For me he was the best player in the world in 2000/2001, and he’s been a part of the incredible transformation of Arsenal Football Club in the last decade.

    I wish him the best of luck. I hope Juve win the Serie A next year.

  16. uncle fester

    Chill Bongo dont boil its not good i have faith in AW this has been planned and thought out for many months le boss does not make rash decisions, what PHW said must be taken with a pinch of salt he new the score as did the whole board DD and AW have discussed this le boss is ruthless when it matters the Arse comes first thats what counts,Bongo you could do with a beer i promised you .

  17. andy brown


  18. terizzio

    Good luck, Paddy.

    I wonder if he’ll be the first player in a long while who’ll do better after leaving us. His partnership with Petit was the best I’ve seen.

    New captain (not):
    Jens (too separate)
    Ralph (short contract)
    Cole (burnt bridges)



    Dark Horse:
    Big Phil

    I’d like a captain on the pitch who leads by leading, not by example, thanks. TH14 for me.

  19. RotorGoat

    Bongo et al – my solitary brain cell is, as you say, broken. Or in Italian – ‘guasto’. (CD is coming on fine).

  20. edmondy

    who the fidget is “Scun”.

  21. Tomas

    Patrick will be sorely missed. He was a magnificent player.Strong,skilful and full of grace.Could dominate a match on his own. I wish to thank him for a great time and i hope he will have great success in coming years. Players like him only come along evry 10 years or so.

    Thanks Patrick

  22. Angus Wheaton

    Patrick was a unique player for the Arsenal – his aggressive gangly style and long legs made him the greatest ballwinner we’ve ever had at this club. I loved watching him win the ball in packed midfields, flick it over his opponent’s head and spin and collect it before racing off and feeding the front line. Anyone remember watching him do that against some crap team in blue (Leciester or Brum I think from memory) and just watching the reaction of the oppostion players? They just couldnt believe the skill he had and you could see the fight draining out of them.

    Sadly, as any ex-pat (no pun intended) will tell you, there comes a day when its time to go. Whether its the poor weather or for whatever reason, it wasn’t hard to see that big Pat needed a new challenge. Theres no doubt he loves the Arsenal, but the spark had gone and that was clear last season. I don’t think we needed a captain who was on the verge of signing for Real Madrid, so even though we have lost a class player, lets remember he gave us the best years of his career and its obvious he is declining physically – even if he is still head and shoulders above most Premiership midfielders as his star dims.

    I hope most Gooners thank Pat for his stay and wish him all the best – we’ll never see another player like him at Highbury. However, like the time against Bolton two years back when TA6 thought a ball in the six yard box would go out and just stood and watched as a Bolton player retrieved it and scored to fuck our chances of a title, its obvious the will to constantly put his body on the line has decreased. I knew when Tony let that forward score that he would go into the dressing room and realise that would have never happened with the younger and stronger version. Likewise it was evident that Pat had also lost that spark when you saw him misplace passes and let others chase back for him. If fans can see these things surely the player in his heart must know that its time for new pastures or retirement. Motivation to make that extra yard, to chase back, to do the dirty work is something that must come from within the player. It doesnt appear from larger paycheques or or pop-star girlfriends, and when its gone, its gone.

    So thanks Paddy for you nine years of service, you have been a wonderful servant of the club. Perhaps you realised you would never be our greatest captain, or your body grew weary, or you grew tired of London’s grey winter skies, but I’ll never forget your amazing contribution to the most exciting Arsenal team I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. And that last goal you got for us against the Toffees, well that was just sheer class. We’ll all miss you.

  23. Anrito

    GOOD LUCK Paddy {}

  24. chozzer

    I think spelling his name wrong on the publicity for the new kit was the final straw.
    Flippancy is cool.
    Long live the new heart of the new Arsenal team.

  25. Scotty

    Thanks, Paddy…I think.

  26. Jesper Arnsbjerg

    A sad day for all supporters of Arsenal FC, Personally I would have liked Paddy to be the one who took us all the way in the Champions League.
    It was not to be so let`s trust Arsene Wengers judgement and concentrate on getting behind the team, whoever is in our starting eleven and whoever is our new captain.
    we`ll get nowhere moaning.

    Goodbuy Paddy and thanks for the memory

  27. Gerry Gooner

    Sad but exiting. I can’t believe people think Cole should be captain- Noooo Waaaayy!. Viewira was agreat servant but it had to end sometime. Heard a report in newstalk 106 (Dublin radio) from a journo who said that DD flew to France to speak to Vieira during the week and tol dhim that if a serious offer came in the club would be accepting it and Vieira apparently flew in to rage. Dunno if ther’s any truth in that but after the sh*t he put us all thru last 2 years- what goes around comes around. All this talk about Diarra of Lyon- why aren’t we in for Essien????
    Anyway thanks for the memories patrick- we need someone else to kick Roy Keanes shins now- step up Flamini!!!

  28. arnie

    hang on a minute……he hasn’t passed his medical yet!!

  29. Jesus

    Firstly I’d like to thank Paddy for his service to the club. I actually think that deep down the criticism he received last season for being below his best made him reflect on the season. Like someone said about TA, I think Paddy sat at home and realised that whilst (and I say this in disagreement with others) he was an asset last season, he was also at times a hinderance. Not many times, but enough to make him, Wenger, and the fans realise that his best times are behind him.

    Him leaving might well be the best gift Patrick has given us. He’s going on a high, and before his ageing legs do to us what Keanes have done to United. We don’t to be finishing third struggling to make a decent showing every season out of hurt pride, and I doubt that Paddy wants that for us either, which might well be why he’s leaving. It’s good for him and good for the club; win-win. In Italy his age won’t be a negative factor (look at how many over 30s have great seasons in Italy) because of the slower pace (this might be why he didn’t want to go to Spain) and he can still be successful.

    I can’t believe only one other person has stated Toure’s case for the midfield slot! He’s perfect, at least in the short term. He’s physical, quick, enthusiastic and if anyone has been a force driving us forward from the back it’s been Kolo. We’ve all seen his driving runs from the back…he’s got all the hallmarks of a perfect holding midfielder. And now, unlike in the past, he can defend. And with PS coming through and showing so much talent, we can afford to play Senderos and Sol at the back with Toure alongside Gilberto. We’ll be really hard to break down with that set-up…so much defensive quality. And since it was goals conceded that hurt us so much last season…

    Ballack would be another good choice, and with United’s days of dominating the market far behind them, their interest in him shouldn’t dissuade us. He’d much rather sign for us than them. Essien’d be good except he fancies a move to Chelsea. He was close to refusing to tour with Lyon and I just worry he could end up having tantrums, and like Ash, want to move to Chelski in a season or two. I’d rather see Kolo there for now until Flamini and Fabregas can grow into the position. That way we don’t need to waste the 10 mill on a replacement and it’ll make getting SWP a better possibility. Not to mention that under the new UEFA rules Kolo would qualify as an “association” player, whereas bringing in yet another new player from abroad would hamper us in building a team for the new rules. This might also be why the Jenas rumours have legs (but I hope to GOD he doesn’t come. Ash + Pennant’s worst bits).

    For the record we won’t be getting Baptista now because he no longer wants to move. I actually suspect this might have been at the urging of DD and AW. Why? Because if he tried to move to England now he’d struggle because of work permit issues. We might be able to appeal it and get him in, but why bother when in January we can launch a bid and he’ll have a Spanish passport?

    I think our main focus will move to another keeper (Why not German Lux from River Plate?), a defender (as cover, especially if we move Toure up) and SWP. With Chelsea dragging the SWP saga out we might be able to nip in and steal him.

  30. pablochrist

    Anywhere but Juventus. I hate Juventus …. Italian Geordies

  31. Bongo et al

    To rotorgoat- forgive me for my unsavoury slur on your intellect!
    And i hope you persevere with your pidgeon italian. I was very emotional!!

    But after I talked things through with my border Collie- things are not too bad,after all.
    The Captaincy of our Fabled Club is up for grabs! And I think its a two horse race.
    The firm favourite is Henry. The outsider is the potentiallly talismanic Senderos.
    But The Alsatian will plump for our best player(Rightly-in this instance).
    Hopefully this will make TH a more rounded personality. Encouraging our young guns, REyes, flamini, Quincy, Cesc, RVP et al- Rather than haranging them with futile gestures!
    We will also see the lyon mali midfield enforcer coming to Highbury.
    The reason for this is – The Alsatian is on very good terms with PAUL le Guen(probably Wenger’s replacement). Le Guen the Old Lyon manager will have given AW a glowing refernce on the players ability, character, stamina and contract details.
    To summarise.
    The Alsatian has shown a ruthless streak -that some of us did not think was there!
    The future looks bright……..The future looks redcurrent!
    A misty-eyed Bongo et al

  32. Pirate Gunner

    We ‘ll obviously sign a new CM. It’s too wishful to assume fab and fla can step up.

    Ballack seems to be the ideal replacement if we can afford him. He’s still young but experienced.

    Guti ? He said he wanted to come.

  33. Vince

    I feel strange this morning… Paddy…..doesn’t seem right. Anywat, things move on so…….

    Paddy, all the very best to you, thanks for everything, you were, no are an Arsenal legend and of that you can be proud.

    What now? Only Arsene knows, trust The Real Chosen One!

  34. vivb

    I still don’t understand why AW none were leaving this summer.

    Great deal for PV a 5 year contract at £85,000 a week which will see him to 35 plus some of the transfer fee.

    I think AW reviewing the season made his mind up after two key games the cup final when we were out played by MU and the Chelsea game at home when Flamini and Cesc refused to be outplayed by Lampard and Make.

    To succeed in Europe we need players not burdened with the years of failure.

    Replacement must be Diawarra (sic) of Lyon hense their resistance to sell Essien this year knowing Chelsea will still be looking for him next year when CM is closer to retirement.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sol on his way as he has become more injury prone but then the English contingent will be even smaller.

    Newcastle’s comments about JJ being worth more than Vieira are a joke, he might have potential but is he going to realise it under Souness.

  35. Lee.

    So Paddy’s off then, yes I’m sad but we all knew it was going to happen sometime, but 13.5m not so sure we got enough here not great business for me & only one club wanted him?
    I’m not sure his hearts been @ the club for a while now anyway, he’s had too many distractions over the last couple of years.
    For me the lots of factors came into play here the one I just mentioned, The fact he’s playing every international game for France his knees his age & the main one for is AW already has his replacement in the bag, or we would never have got to this stage.
    Maybe if he had retired internationally we too would have offered him a new 4 year deal.
    Bye Paddy & I hope it all goes well in Italy but not the CH for you next year.

  36. Michael

    Thanks for everything Paddy.

    What fantastic business though. All that he achieved for us, £10M profit and I doubt that we spent all of that on his wages in the last nine years. Another year and we’d have paid a year’s salary and been lucky to get the same price for him. And he’d probably have clung on for a Bosman as well.

    The club have won a battle here that I thought they could never win in this day and age. But if they make Cole captain I’ll be extremely upset.

  37. Paul Thor Skinbakk

    hargreaves anyone ? young, english, and better than jenas

  38. wengerball

    Can Ashley Cole not be touted as captain by anyone any more. It’s no day for bad jokes. Not until he says he’s sorry and signs a new contract and hell freezes over. He’s not worthy. It HAS to be TH14 no-one else has the, er, va va voom… Maybe senderos down the line tho.
    Ballack is the boy for us now – if there’s anyone who can fill PV4s mighty boots, it’s him and he would totally re-shape the way we play. He’s one guy who really can compete in Europe, as we know. Oh and now we can afford SWP, no?

  39. Vince

    Spot on wengerball….cole for captain… are ‘aving a larf!! No way!!

    Ballack would be great but I haven’t heard his name mentioned anywhere yet, not that that means anything.

    All of a sudden it’s got interesting hasn’t it.

  40. wengerball

    Absolutely, it’s suddenly got gripping. It feels a bit like entering the unknown now.
    Even though we played without long legs before (and done well) I reckon this is the start of a new Arsenal system/style because we kept getting found out by the big teams in the big games last season. It’s back to the drawing board with a new midfield structure – it’s nothing short of a revolution inspired by le Boss, who’s shown his ruthlesss streak.
    Ballack is total wishful thinking but can you think kof ANYONE you’d prefer AND he’s available.
    Vive la revoution.

  41. halfNice

    £20M for Jenas?! Is that a pig I see flying by?

  42. Farnborough Gunner

    AW could offer RP7 the captaincy; it may pursuade him to sign the new (short) contract on offer. He may not be the best captain-in-waiting, but he would be a good captain nethertheless. In the meantime big Phil could be groomed as the next captain, in 3-4 years time?

    However, I suspect Sol will get the nod, if AW decides to keep him; like Pires, Sol has an unsigned contract in front of him.

    RP7 is quoted on the PV departure in several sources. He speaks as if he will be at Highbury next season; quotes like “It will feel strange for US in the dressing room at the strt of the season”. Could mean a lot of things, or maybe nothing, but I’d really like to see him stay.

    If nothing else, the sale of PV4 may focus the thoughts of Pires, Campbell and Cole and make them realise that if they don’t sign up they too will be shipped out. The club has sent a signal that it is bigger than any player.

  43. matt

    Has to be TH14 for captain. If Flamini can improve enough to be a first pick in a couple of years (big ask) then he wuold also make a great captain.

    Jenas – worth only 5mil
    SWP – worth less than 10 mil
    essien surely will go to the chavs

    So who? Diarra seems the most likely but wait……. Marca says that Sevilla and DD have a greed a fee for the Beast!

    Bring him on!

    The king is dead long live the king. Other than TH14’s genius my favourite sight over the past 10 years has been watching PV4 juggle the ball past 2 closing midefielders and then surge forward and spread the play. No one can do that quite like Paddy!

  44. Farnborough Gunner

    All good things come to an end, and PV could not go on forever (probably not for much longer atall in my opinion, at least in the English PL).

    At least he leaves with most of us thinking good things about him. If he had left during one of his summer holiday affairs with Real Madrid a lot of us would have said “good riddance”. This way he can leave with his head up and the praise of Gooners everywhere.

    Remember 1997-98? If we had ben told that we would have to play the end of the season, including an FA cup final and a champoinship run in, without Bergie and Wright we would have been horrified; up step Anelka & Wreh. There is always someone else ready to step in, whether it’s a purchase or an existing squad member.

    And the vacancy in midfield may actually help us land a top midfielder, who could now see a real chance to claim a regular starting place.

  45. Green Gooner

    Gutted that Paddy’s gone. It’s going to be pretty damn weird seeing him in the Old Lady’s colours next year. Life goes on…
    Sol for the captaincy, and when his time comes in a couple of years the Sendman. Not Ash though, please not Ash…

  46. San Francisco

    Jermaine Jenas? I don’t know much about him, does anyone think AW is seriously considering him as our new big man in the middle?

  47. Vince

    Whoever we get I hope he is able to flick the ball over an opponents head, spin round, make him look a c–t and head towards goal…..if not he has to learn it! That is greatest memory of the man…bloody brilliant. He even did it once or twice last season which, as we know wasn’t his best.

    Would love to see Juve playing us, if not in the champs league, in a friendly, first game at the New Home of Football, DB’s testimonial? Would that not be appropriate???!!!

    A still sad Vinnie

  48. uncle fester

    Greetings Arse mates i keep saying the beast will come and i still say he will,get use to big shots going there will be more Bob,Sol,Fred and finally Jens its AW dismantling the side to build a new younger one it wont happen all at once but it wont take long 18 months tops.Anybody who thinks AW is not ruthless as been asleep just look at Petit and Overmars he knew there best days were over and he was right they did nothing of note again,i think Sol is next in the cross hairs always seems to be injured 30 years old and two young bucks at the heart of the defence,Fred has had health and injury problems and Bob and Jens there age goes against them.

  49. wengerball

    Now mighty PV4 is so-much glorious gooner history, all seems possible. Like Unc F says there’s a major rebuilding job underway and question marks hang over many formerly central figures.
    Bobby, Freddie, Ash, cygan, Lehman and even Campbell all look precarious and any/many could go in the coming season or so.
    Of those – I would love Ash to sort out this mess and re-sign (until recently he was gooner to the bone) and i’ve always had a soft spot for Freddie (i said soft spot) but as for the rest – all replaceable.

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