There was a remarkable quality that the Arsenal team in the early 2000 used to boast. While the attacking prowess of Robert Pires, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp continued to befuddle opponents who were mesmerised by their movement and finishing, Arsenal fans will never forget the sight of a tall midfielder displaying the force of nature in the midfield and almost singlehandedly leading the team from the middle of the park.
Patrick Vieira has been signed from AC Milan just months before Arsene Wenger got the job in ’96 and he was part of any success the Gunners achieved in the next nine years.
Vieira left Arsenal back in 2005 and since then, things have not remained the same ever since. A leader on the pitch and a fierce and brilliant example of how a player should represent a club, the former club captain has never been replaced.
However, it would seem that Arsenal are close to signing the solution of what has been Arsenal’s problem in the 12 years Vieira left. The Daily Mail reports that Arsenal are close to signing Sevilla midfielder, Steven N’Zonzi as a fee has reportedly been agreed with the Spanish club.
The player has fallen out with his manager at the Ramon Sanchez Pijuan and wants a move back to the Premier League to ensure he is closer to his son and also enable him make the French squad for the World Cup in Russia next month.
The player who turns 29 tomorrow will offer a physical presence to the Arsenal midfield and ensure they are not overrun as the case has been over the years. N’Zonzi has Premier League experience having played for Stoke and Blackburn Rovers, meaning he will have no problems adapting to the rigours of the league. He has become one of the most impressive midfielders in Europe since moving to Sevilla and his release clause of £35.2m is a steal given the state of the transfer market.
While he may not be a Vieira in every sense of it, he can be the closest the Arsenal fans have seen of a player who stood toe-to-toe with Roy Keane and made opponents afraid of the Gunners.