New Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini did not seem to think twice about bringing French midfielder Patrick Vieira back to the Premier League to help his new Sky Blues side gain Champions League qualification or perhaps even more in a move that makes the mind think back to Man City’s neighbours Manchester United, and their capture of Vieira’s former international team-mate Laurent Blanc back in 2001.
Vieira, 33, brings undoubted qualities to any side he plays for, however at this stage of his staggering career, it is likely his strengths now lie off the field perhaps more than in that central midfield role he made his own for the best part of a decade at Highbury.
Manchester City is a side looking to win trophies. Having seen their approach to the Carling Cup there is no doubt about that. Having won trophies throughout his career means Vieira is the ideal man to have in this squad as he knows what needs to be done and how to approach each game.
This is a quality Mark Hughes failed to bring in despite his abundance of signings. For example, former Everton and Wolves defender Joleon Lescott, at £22 million has no major medals to his name, and the same can be said of Shay Given, Craig Bellamy, Gareth Barry and Nigel de Jong, who despite all being quality players are without major honours in their careers to date.
The players Mark Hughes brought in who have won something of note in their careers joined City because they either weren’t first choice in these teams or, according to their previous managers, were entering the twilight phases of their careers, and this can seen evidently in Kolo Touré’s performances this year. The signing of Robinho, given his attitude and performances in the recent past bears not mentioning as his attitude clearly leaves a lot to be desired.
Vieira has been the nucleus of many successful sides over the past fifteen years and this experience may prove invaluable to a team whose players are all still very new to one another. At 33 he has done it all and knows how to win games, which leads to winning trophies.
However it must be suggested that Vieira’s experience may have been the exclusive reason for this move to the North-West as his ageing legs seem to be more apparent in his recent performances. Something which former Vieira’s former manager Jose Mourinho clearly thought with the Frenchman struggling to maintain a place in the Inter Milan side which is some way off being the strongest in Europe.
However, with Manchester City now being a club whose wage bill bears no significance Patrick Vieira could provide a very astute acquisition from Roberto Mancini. This will no doubt make the rest of January very interesting as it is clear Mancini wants to put his own stamp on a squad with so much potential to challenge the Premier League’s so-called “big 4”.