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Has Vieira really thought this through?
05 August 2004
It's finally got to the stage where I really no longer know what to believe.
I was sure Vieira wouldn't be leaving despite the usual rumours coming from Madrid, totally 100% sure of it, but maybe this time we have to give in and accept that this could now well be the summer he goes.
I am sure, if Paddy is going, he has thought long and hard about it. No matter what has been said about him over the last month, he has been loyal to the club for 8 years. He has given us everything he had, he has always been 100% on the pitch. We have had the privilege of seeing one of the best midfielders of this era play for the club we love. Any player who gives as much as he has could never just leave a club without really having to think hard. He may well feel he needs a new challenge, he may well need to live out a dream of playing for Madrid, he may well see this as possibly his last chance to join them before they finally get sick of asking. He may well feel he has gone as far as he can with Arsenal, achieved all he can. He's won two doubles with us, and played in a title team that went unbeaten. Short of winning the Champions League, what more can he do with us?
For some fans, that doesn't seem to be enough. But for some fans it's never enough.
"He should stay and finish the job and help us win the Champions League".
A player at the top of his profession gets a limited amount of shots at winning the Champions League, people seem to forget that Vieira has been trying to win us that cup since 1998, if he feels his chances are better elsewhere then I think he is the best judge of that, I think he has earnt the right to be able to go try his luck elsewhere without people thinking he is turning his back on the club. Whether he is right to go to Madrid to try and live his dream, only time will tell. But he has given the club 8 years of his life, I think people should back off, whatever the final out come of this saga.
But one thing I hope Vieira has thought through is the fate of others who have left the club.
As we have seen, other big names have left and never really captured the form they showed at Arsenal.
There is one very big reason for this.
When a player leaves Arsenal, they are not just leaving the club, they are leaving the managerial talents of Arsene Wenger.
This is something I think so many players over look, and miss the second they join their new club.
Wenger allows players to play to their strengths, he builds around them, if a player is brought to Arsenal it is because he can fit into a system that allows them to become the best they can as well as add something extra to the squad.
You would very hard pushed to name any other manager who has turned so many players into the some of the elite in world football. Many have built world class teams, but how many have brought so many unknown names and turned them into world class.
The belief, the freedom and the sheer will to win Wenger installs in his team is beyond anything any player will get anywhere else. He makes his player believe in what they can do, in what they can achieve and in what they are.
Every player at Arsenal should remember that part of what makes them so world class is the manager, without him, they lose part of their talent. You can see it in their play once they have moved club, something is missing, they are no longer going on the pitch with the same look to them. Sure some of them go on to play for class managers, but none like Wenger.
I just hope this is something Vieira has thought long and hard about.
I have no doubt he will do well at Madrid should he end up going, but he will never be as good as he is right now.
Madrid as a club won't allow him to express himself in the same way Arsenal do, they won't allow him to be the Vieira they have brought. Sure he will be playing with some of the biggest names in the game.....but isn't he doing that anyway?
I am sure there are many different things going through his mind right now, but I think these are big ones for him to seriously think about.
But I for one will not turn on him if he does go.
He has given the club too much and give us all too many memories.
Any player who stays at a club long enough to have won three title medals deserves the best wishes of all he leaves behind as he starts his next challenge.
Let's just hope he knows what he is leaving behind, because he will never have as good as he has it at Highbury