Sunday, December 6, 2009

Patrick Vieira: A January Transfer Target For Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Spurs

With only a few weeks until the January Transfer Window opens, the rumours are beginning to surface. But the most surprising of which sees 33 year old Patrick Vieira at the centre of a five-way tug of war between Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City and Spurs.

Chelsea have become the latest suitors for the French international. The Stamford Bridge side is bracing itself for the absence of several important players during the African Nations Cup in January.

Among those missing will be Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel, so there will be a dearth of combative type players for a month that could decide the league title. Vieira would fill what is likely to be an important midfield gap for the Blues for that month, as well as providing important cover for the rest of the season.

The Pensioners will have learned a valuable lesson from Rafael Benitez's disastrous signing of Alberto Aquilani during the summer. The Italian player was injured when signed and has yet to begin a match for the Anfield side.

This loss of an important midfield player in the side has resulted in Liverpool's title challenge being over by October and early elimination from the Champions League.

Chelsea seem unwilling at this stage of the season to take a risk and sign no cover as they lose important players, and are believed to have offered the Frenchman a deal worth £50,000 per week for the next 18 months to head off interest from his preferred destinations of Arsenal or Liverpool.

With Liverpool's midfield thread bare at the moment Rafael Benitez will be looking for short term answers that are invariably cheap.

Patrick Vieira fits this bill perfectly for Rafa. He is available for next to nothing and would almost go straight into first team action in place of Lucas Leivia, who has yet to reach the levels expected of him.

Benitez would only be able to offer Vieira a six month deal, but the lure of first team football on the eve of the World Cup in South Africa would be a huge attraction.

Arsenal are also looking for Vieira but for different reasons again.

Wenger sees his former captain as the ideal influence his young team needs off the pitch. The Gunners are badly lacking character and Vieira would bring that in spades.

Although the move would go against Wenger's footballing philosophy, it would be a huge boon to have someone of Vieira's stature in the dressing room, a player unafraid to take responsibility.

The signing could even add to Wenger's armoury in fending off the inevitable interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona for Arsenal's skipper Cesc Fabregas.

The young Spaniard is the midfield lynch-pin of the Gunners and takes on responsibility at every turn, but all too often he has to do this by himself. Vieira coming in would enable him to shed the load while learning from one of the games great midfielders.

Tottenham's interest in Vieira has waned somewhat since the summer, when the Frenchman was on the verge of a move to White Hart lane only to pull out at the last moment when Arsenal signalled their interest.

Harry Redknapp wants Vieira for the exact same reasons as his North London rival but has since switched his attention to Brazilian U-20 captain Sandro, and Moussa Sissoko of Toulouse.

However, Redknapp has built a reputation for getting the best out of players who others believe are past their prime and there is no doubt that Vieira would be a welcome addition to Tottenham's dressing room.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that at 33 Patrick Vieira's best days are behind him, but with four of England's best managers all showing signs of interest there is obviously life in those old legs yet.