Winterburn: Vieira signing a gamble

Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn says he doubts whether his old team-mate Patrick Vieira still has what it takes to succeed at Manchester City.

The French World Cup winner became Roberto Mancini’s first signing since taking over at Eastlands by agreeing a six-month deal with the Blues - with the option of a further year.

However, Winterburn - who made more than 400 league appearances for the Gunners from 1987-2000 - believes the pace of the Premier League could now be too much for the 33-year-old.

"He was a fantastic player for Arsenal. If he was playing at that level you've got a player who is very, very competitive but is also very skillful and has ability on the ball,” he told Sky Sports News.

"That's what a lot of people didn't realise about Patrick. He could break up opposition attacks but he was also powerful and skilful enough to then set his own team on a counter-attack.

"The game has moved on since he left the Premiership, it's got even quicker.

"If Patrick Vieira was still at the level he was when he left Arsenal, then it would be a good move for Manchester City, but I have my doubts whether he can get back to that level.

The former Arsenal left-back also believes that Vieira's arrival could affect the dressing room, with City currently enjoying a 100 percent success rate under their new Italian boss.

"In terms of transfer fees there is nothing there so all City are looking at is wages - and Manchester City can afford to pay that so it's not a gamble in that sense," Winterburn said.

"It's more of a gamble in terms of how he is going to fit into the team. Is he going to disrupt the style of play and will he be able to play enough games?


"For Patrick, the gamble is he thinks that he is going to get to play in order to give himself a chance to get himself back into the France squad."

Follow FFT.com on Twitter Join FFT.com on Facebook