When the Swedish billionaire first attempted to buy Arsenal, Patrick Vieira was among the three legends of the club that supported the bid. Other legends who made up the trio were Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry.
The 45-year-old Crystal Palace coach was backing Daniel Ek’s dream when he was not yet a football manager in the Premier League. The French tactician was without a coaching job months after he was sacked by French side Nice in 2020.
Recall that even though Daniel Ek was able to win the support of three of the most adored football icons of the club, the owner of Arsenal, Stan Kroenke did not entertain his bid. The American businessman through his son Josh Kroenke, who happens to be the director of the club, told Ek that Arsenal was not for sale.
Yet, the Swedish billionaire continued to push for the attention of the Kroenke family with little or no progress.
Ek was inspired to bid for Arsenal due to the club’s involvement in the failed European Super League project. Also, the club’s misfortunes over the years made the bid a promising one. For instance, last season was so bad for the club that the club could not qualify for any form of European club competition.
Some fans of the club believe that the club is suffering because Kroenke has not been making enough investment in the squad.
Ahead of Crystal Palace’s visit to the Emirates Stadium to play a Premier League game against Arsenal on Monday, October 18, 2021, Patrick Vieira stressed that he supported Ek’s bid then because he didn’t like the direction Arsenal was going.
He also insisted that he supported the Swedish billionaire as a former player of the club but is no longer just a former player, hence, his perspective has changed.
“I was just expressing myself as Patrick, ex-Arsenal football player,” Vieira said. “That comment was based on how the direction (of the club) was going.
“I was talking to somebody who had a different view and a different way of taking (forward) Arsenal Football Club.
“This was the reason why Dennis and Thierry were involved in the kind of situation that Arsenal was in.
“I am in a different position than a couple of months ago. So I’m not going to express myself in the same way as when I was just an ex-Arsenal football player.”
Though Kroenke has made it clear that Arsenal is not for sale, Henry, one of the legends of the club who happens to be Ek’s frontman, has continued to insist that the bid is not dead. He however confirmed that EK and Kroenke have never had any official discussion over the bid.
“It hasn’t happened yet, but we and he is here to stay”, Henry said. “So let’s see what’s going to happen.”
But Patrick Vieira insisted that since the Kroenke family had said the club was not for sale, he thought the deal was over.
He said: “When you were looking at the situation at the time it was clear that the Kroenke family was making the statement that the club is not for sale.
“Then I think everything was over. You can’t buy a football club if it is not for sale.”
🗣 "Going back there will be emotional."— Football Daily (@footballdaily) October 15, 2021
Patrick Vieira says returning to face Arsenal as a manager will be an emotional experience but he will put it to one side to focus on getting a result pic.twitter.com/Y3TwpgKtF9