Patrick Vieira closes in on his transfer to Man City
By Chris Bevan and David Ornstein
Inter Milan’s Patrick Vieira is close to joining Manchester City after undergoing a medical at the club.
City, whose boss Roberto Mancini signed Vieira when he was in charge at Inter, hope to complete a permanent deal for the 33-year-old midfielder on Friday.
Inter manager Jose Mourinho revealed on Wednesday that Vieira had played his last game for the Italian champions.
If the Frenchman does join City he will become Mancini’s first signing since succeeding Mark Hughes in December.
Vieira moved to Italy after bringing his spell in English football to an end when he left Arsenal in the summer of 2005 after nine years at the London club.
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He joined Juventus for £13.7m but spent only one season in Turin before signing for Inter, where he won two Serie A titles under Mancini in 2007 and 2008.
Vieira won a third successive Scudetto last term but has made only 16 appearances in all competitions this time round – with most of those coming as a substitute.
Speaking to French television, he confirmed his four-and-a-half-year stay in Italy was over and explained that winning a place in the France squad for the 2010 World Cup proved the decisive factor.
The 6ft 3in central-midfielder won the last of his 107 international caps in a friendly against Nigeria in August but his last competitive appearance came in September 2007 during a European Championship qualifier against Scotland.
“It’s over, after a year in Turin and three-and-a-half years in Milan,” said Vieira, who helped France win the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship. “I wanted to go to the World Cup and I need playing time.
“I have objectives and I can’t achieve them by staying at Inter where I am not part of the coach’s choice.
“What’s important for me is to go to Manchester City, to show the coach that I am the same as I was during the period when he was at Inter. All this will help me get into the France team.”
Mourinho heightened the prospect of Vieira returning to English football after Inter’s 1-0 victory over Chievo on Wednesday.
Vieira led Arsenal to 2005 FA Cup final glory in his final game for the Gunners
The Frenchman played 90 minutes and gave an impressive display as the Nerazzurri maintained their eight-point lead at the top of Serie A.
“I should give a special mention to Vieira, who certainly played his last game with us,” said Mourinho.
“I don’t know where he will go, maybe England which he likes a lot, but we should thank him for what he has done.
“The club decided not to renew his contract, which is coming to an end, and to accept the offer of another club,” added Mourinho.
“I will miss him but I don’t have the right to demand anything from a club who has done so much for me.
“He had an impeccable game [against Chievo]. It was the perfect farewell to us, and I want to wish him all the best for his new career.”
Vieira is best remembered for his career in north London, where he made more than 400 appearances for Arsenal, winning three league titles and four FA Cups.
His last game in English football was the 2005 FA Cup final, in which he scored the winning penalty for Arsenal to beat Manchester United.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, who was linked with re-signing Vieira at the start of the season, feels he will still be a force in the Premier League if he does switch to Eastlands and understands his motives for a move.
“Patrick needs to play,” explained the Gunners boss. “I was surprised about Manchester City’s interest because there were more talks about other clubs, but it would be a good opportunity for him.
“I believe he would still be very effective in the Premier League because he has been injury-free for three or four months now, and that is what he needed.”