Arsene Wenger would be "surprised" to see Patrick Vieira turn up at Manchester City, but has no doubts the former Arsenal captain can still do a job in the Barclays Premier League.
The Gunners boss had considered moving for his old midfield enforcer, now seemingly surplus to requirements at Inter Milan.
However, Wenger decided against pursuing his initial interest during the summer, instead placing faith in youngsters like Aaron Ramsey, Abou Diaby and Denilson.
New Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is, though, reported to be ready to offer the 33-year-old - whom he signed while in charge at Inter during 2006 - a return to England, initially on a loan deal, as Vieira aims to cement his place in the French World Cup squad.
Lyon were also keen to bring Vieira back to Ligue 1, but it now appears Eastlands could be his next stop.
"I will respect Patrick forever for what he has done and what he has achieved here," Wenger said.
"We have young players in his position and are not in a real need to bring players in this position."
The Arsenal manager added: "I was surprised it was Manchester City, because there were more talks about other clubs, but it is a good opportunity for him.
"I believe he will still be very effective in the Premier League because he has been injury free for three or four months and that is what he needed."