Arsenal manage double signing

Football

The mysterious machinations at Arsenal took another unexpected turn yesterday with the the announcement that not one but two Frenchmen were joining the club, both of them players.

Suddenly the club that could not make a signing under a manager who would not sign his own contract have, within 48 hours of Bruce Rioch's departure, persuaded Patrick Vieira and Remi Garde to put pen to paper before revealing who they would be working under.

The French connection conveys an even stronger hint, if that was possible, that Rioch's successor in the manager's office will be Arsene Wenger. The man who made such an impression on the England coach, Glenn Hoddle, when he played under him at Monaco has reportedly told his current club, Nagoya Grampus Eight, where his contract runs until November, that he will be leaving them to join Arsenal.

No one at the North London club, who qualified for the Uefa Cup despite Rioch's perceived failings, is about to confirm that, though the managing director, Ken Friar, did shed some light on the bold step of signing the French pair. "I know eyebrows may be raised as we have signed them before the new manager has been confirmed, but we needed to beat the Uefa deadline. We cannot make an announcement about Bruce Rioch's successor just yet and it is unrealistic to think that anything will be confirmed before the start of the season."

It must be assumed that someone who is au fait with French football marked Arsenal's card, tipping them a pounds 4m wink about the qualities of Vieira. The former under-21 international, who began his career with Cannes before moving to Milan in November, can play as a defensive midfielder, centre- back or left wing-back. Although he played only six games in Italy - three in the Uefa Cup, one in the Italian Cup and two in Serie A - back home he is regarded, at 20, as highly promising. He was apparently wanted by Paris St-Germain, Marseille and Bordeaux.

Garde, 10 years older than Vieira, played for France four years ago but he has since been hampered by injury, which kept him out of the Atlanta Olympics. He had a knee operation two seasons ago and managed only a few appearances for Strasbourg last season. However, since he was out of contract, he moved to Highbury as a free agent.

Both will have to fit in initially with the plans of Stewart Houston and Pat Rice, who look certain to be directing operations when Arsenal take on West Ham United on Saturday.

For Paul Merson, the main concern is how matters are handled off the pitch as he continues his battle to beat drink, drugs and gambling. He was having "a very bad few days" before Arsenal's pre-season trip to Italy, and told Rioch he could not go. Merson said: "He was fantastic about it. He understood what I was going through and said, 'Right, take four days off and come and see me when we get back'. That's how he was, and now I feel for him over what has happened." He hopes Rioch's successor, whoever it may be, also has a laissez faire approach.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride