Emmanuel Petit says Patrick Vieira has been left sickened by Arsenal’s failure to offer him a coaching position in retirement.
The Frenchmen formed a close bond during their two years together at Highbury and have remained close, to the point where Petit feels it’s his business to air Patrick’s dirty laundry in public.
Reflecting on Wenger’s apparent reticence to include high-profile former players on his coaching staff, Petit told SFR Sport: “I was with Patrick two days before he went to the USA. There was an event organised by Manchester City in January, and I was one of four players invited by Patrick.
“I spoke with Patrick for two hours and I can say – and maybe he will not be happy that I am saying this in public – he is really sickened by Arsenal & Arsene’s attitude.”
Petit added: “Why didn’t Arsene open the door to Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira or Tony Adams?
“Arsene couldn’t imagine that anyone would criticise him openly on television, never mind a former Arsenal player.
“It is good to build statues to commemorate history but at some point you have to open the doors to help them.
“When I see Dennis Bergkamp on Ajax’s bench, it doesn’t bother me, but I remember Dennis has a son in Arsenal’s academy.”
Obviously, Arsenal have not made a regular habit of handing out coaching roles to former players…but then again it’s not that easy. Arsene has been at pains to point out, that where possible, he’s opened London Colney to ex-Gunners looking to undertake their training badges. The problem is that you can’t just give everybody a job off the back of that.
Quite what Petit is going on about when he says Arsenal haven’t opened the door to Henry and Adams is beyond us. Both men had the chance to take on a full-time position with the under-18s; Henry didn’t want to sacrifice his media duties and Adams took a big-money gig in China. In their place, Freddie Ljungberg is rumoured to be working with Kwame Ampadu.
It’s not the first time Petit has stuck the knife into Wenger, back in March the Frenchman called for his former boss to leave after the Gunners threw away a chance to win the Premier League. The timing of the latest outburst is all the more curious given Petit is confirmed to play in the Legends game against AC Milan on Saturday. His coach for the occasion? Arsene Wenger.
Patrick Vieira recently said his relationship with Wenger remains ‘really good’.