Former team-mates of the Frenchman, Ray Parlour and Lee Harper, believe he would be a good fit for a vacant managerial post at St James’ Park
Newcastle could prove to be a “stepping stone” for Patrick Vieira, says Ray Parlour, with the legendary former Arsenal midfielder expected to head back to north London in a managerial capacity at some stage.
The Frenchman is among those being linked with a high-profile vacancy at St James’ Park.
With Newcastle having been unable to agree fresh terms with Rafa Benitez, they find themselves back in the market for a new coach.
Various targets have been mooted, with the likes of Jose Mourinho and David Moyes among them, but no decision has been made as yet.
That means that Arsenal icon Vieira could be returned to the Premier League from a spell at Nice, with former team-mate Parlour of the opinion that a move to the Magpies would make sense.
He told talkSPORT: “I’m surprised by the news.
“I always tipped him to be the Arsenal manager one day. I’d love to see him back at Arsenal, but this could be the stepping stone, who knows.
“He was a fantastic player, a really intelligent guy. He knew exactly what he brought to the table every game and he never let you down, he could handle the pressure.
“Not all great players become great managers, but I could always see him going down that road.
“To take over from Tony Adams as Arsenal skipper, that was a big loss for us because Tony was a big, big player at centre-half, but Patrick did a wonderful job. He was skipper for about eight years and everyone looked up to him.”
Parlour is not the only former colleague of Vieira in north London to have talked up the World Cup winner’s claims to the role on Tyneside.
Ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Lee Harper is another who feels that a man cut from the same cloth as Arsene Wenger could be a success in a demanding post.
He told Love Sport Radio of Vieira: “He was a really, really nice guy so, given his experience in the Premier League, you can’t see why it wouldn’t work if he went to Newcastle and gave it a go.
“He’s had plenty of managerial experience too which should set him up somewhere like that.
“I don’t see why [he shouldn’t do it]. He’s done some groundwork in management and it would be a good fit. It would be a good challenge.
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“Newcastle are a big club with a great fan base, something Patrick would thrive on.
“First and foremost, he’s a nice guy and you want to see nice guys do well.”
Harper added: “He is a winner and he will demand that whoever plays for his team has that mentality and strength. He will be driving people on.
“I do believe he will be more of a Wenger type [of manager] because he is quiet off the pitch. He will have plenty of technical aspects to his training sessions.
“He is a quiet guy but that doesn’t mean he won’t tell people who need to be told – because of his winning mentality.”