Wenger offers hope for Vieira's return

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The Independent Football

The Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger is not ruling out his former captain Patrick Vieira returning to the club. The 33-year-old midfielder, who left Arsenal for Juventus in 2005, is surplus to requirements at Internazionale.

"I am aware he wants to come here," said Wenger. "There is a football decision and there is a psychological impact of a player of that stature coming in. We are nowhere near to making that decision but it's a possibility."

Tottenham, Birmingham and Paris St-Germain have expressed interest in signing Vieira who was Wenger's first signing at Arsenal in 1996, from Milan.

He made over 400 appearances for the Gunners, winning three League titles and four FA Cups. His last game for Arsenal was the 2005 FA Cup final, in which he scored the winning penalty to beat Manchester United.

Vieira moved to Juventus for £13.75m before switching to Inter, where he helped the Italian club to win the last two Serie A titles. "Patrick is a legend here and he would always like to come back to this club," said Wenger. "That would be his first choice.

"With emotion you always like the club you spent time with but at the moment we need to look at the level of experience in the squad to make this kind of decision.

"We do not rule it out and we do not say we will do it – and that is my decision at the moment."

Vieira's signing would add experience to a squad looking for their first trophy since 2005, especially after the departures of defender Kolo Touré and striker Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City.

Wenger has generated around £40m from the transfers but has made only one summer signing so far, Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax for £10m.

The Frenchman insisted, however, he is not in a rush to spend the money. "I feel we are strong enough but if we can add then we will do it," said Wenger. "In England, people think all problems can be sorted out by buying players."

Arsenal have been linked with a host of players this summer but Wenger says the club are not "close to signing anyone at the moment".

Defenders Brede Hangeland of Fulham and Newcastle's Sébastien Bassong as well as strikers Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of Real Madrid and Bordeaux's Marouane Chamakh have been linked with moves to the Emirates Stadium.

"We have money available so for us it is now important to spend it in the right way when we do it or if we do it," said Wenger earlier in the week.

The lack of summer signings, the departures of Touré and Adebayor and the serious injury to Samir Nasri have put the spotlight on the club's transfer policy.

Arsenal lost out in their bid to sign Felipe Melo from Fiorentina, with the Brazil midfielder opting to move to Juventus instead. But since moving to the Emirates Stadium in 2006, Wenger has focused on nurturing young players rather than capturing experienced stars.