European champions Barcelona and French giants Lyon will both attempt to stifle Manchester City’s bid to sign former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira from Inter Milan, according to reports.
World Cup winner Vieira is widely expected to leave the Nerazzurri in January in order to secure first-team football ahead of the 2010 showpiece in South Africa this summer, with the Roberto Mancini-managed Blues believed to be at the front of the queue for his signature.
The ex-Gunner - who won three Premier League titles during a nine-year spell at Highbury - was strongly tipped to re-join Arsene Wenger's side last summer, only to eventually decide to stay put and fight for his place in Italy.
However, he could now be heading to Catalunya instead, with Barca thought to be keen to sign the 33-year-old on a short term deal to cover for Yaya Toure and Seydou Keita, who are participating at the African Cup of Nations.
Vieira was linked with a move to Barcelona during his time at Arsenal, but instead joined Juventus in 2005.
But Lyon special advisor Bernard Lacombe has warned that he would be far from guaranteed regular action once Toure and Keita arrive back from international duty, and therefore should favour a return to his homeland.
"Patrick has a lot of offers," he said.
"Barcelona would like to recruit him to make up for the loss of Toure and Keita during the African Nations Cup. They would give him an 18-month contract.
"However he would play less when these players return, and this concerns him because he wants to play in the World Cup."comments