Arsenal's Arsene Wenger: Patrick Vieira could succeed me one day
LONDON -- Arsene Wenger has said Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira "has the potential" to succeed him as manager one day.
Vieira has done moderately well as coach of New York City FC, which is affiliated with Manchester City, but Wenger warned it would be a big step up from the MLS to the Premier League.
The former Arsenal midfielder is among a number of names mentioned as contenders to take over from Wenger, whose future remains a subject of speculation.
Wenger needs to win the Europa League to avoid this season becoming the worst of his 21-year reign, with the Gunners sixth place in the Premier League.
On Thursday, the Daily Mail reported that Arsenal see Vieira as a "serious contender" for the top job in future, and Wenger didn't refute the possibility of him being the club's next coach.
"He's a guy who has the potential one day, yes," Wenger said, adding that he had kept an eye on Vieira's managerial career in the U.S.
"I think he does very well. But overall, after that, this Premier League is special, you know. You have to come in.
"There are plenty of former players who played here who have potential and the intelligence and the knowledge to do it. So there's plenty of choice, don't worry for that."
Thierry Henry, Mikel Arteta and Tony Adams are among other former Arsenal players to have been linked with the job.
Wenger's contract expires at the end of next season, but there is increased speculation that he could leave this summer if Arsenal do not win the Europa League.
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.