Arsene Wenger has exclusively revealed to beIN SPORTS that it was pure luck that he decided to user smaller technical players to replace Patrick Vieira in the Arsenal midfield. Whilst Wenger added that he was forced to sell his best players in order to fund the clubs big move to the Emirates stadium.
The former Arsenal boss sat down to speak to beIN SPORTS pundits Richard Keys & Andy Grey to speak about a broad range of subjects including the replacement of Vieira & his future in the game.
Midfielder Vieira was a key component of the Arsenal season that went invincible during the 2003-04 Premier League season, however just one season later the French international had moved to Juventus. Although Wenger found a suitable replacement in teenager Cesc Fabregas, a smaller player who lacked the physicality of Vieira. Although according to Wenger it was not a deliberate move to replace the midfield enforcer with the technical skill of the Spanish midfielder.
"It was not a conscious decision to do. Unfortunately, it is hard to find a Vieira who can play football like a small player. Since I am in England everybody has been looking for a new Vieira but still, after 20 years no one has found him. It was as well a little coincidence that we got Cesc Fabregas, he was not tall but he was still a great football player so I replaced Vieira with Fabregas and we also had Gilberto Silva who worked hard for the team, you know because Gilberto Silva & Vieira were a fantastic pair, they were the Invincibles. After that came from when you built the stadium we had to sell our best players."
You can watch a clip from our exclusive interview with Wenger in the video above. Arsene Wenger in Conversation airs on Friday the 16th of November on HD 1 in Arabic & HD 11 in English. You can watch the show live via beIN SPORTS CONNECT.