NYCFC boss Vieira front-runner to replace Wenger at Arsenal

Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger and Patrick Vieira during a press conference in 2005.

LONDON: The news that rattled European soccer early Friday morning may soon do the same to soccer in the United States.

Hours after news broke that famed Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger is departing the club at the end of this season, his 22nd with the team, reports surfaced in Europe that the leading candidate to replace him is a current MLS head coach.

New York City FC head man Patrick Vieira is being called the front-runner and favourite by multiple outlets. BeIN Sports’ Richard Keys reported that Wenger himself recommended the former Arsenal star to replace him.

Vieira, 41, played nine seasons at Arsenal, earning Premier League Player of the Season in 2000-01 and making the Premier League Overseas Team of the Decade — a collection of the best players in the first 10 years of the league’s existence.

Vieira won three Premier League championships and four FA Cups with Arsenal, eventually earning the team’s captaincy.

He has been in charge of NYCFC since the start of the 2016 season, the franchise’s second season in MLS. The club made the playoffs in each of his first two seasons and currently leads the league this season with 17 points (5-0-2).