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European honours 2014-15

European news
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By ESPN Staff

Wenger keeps faith, but Vieira ''a possibility''

Arsene Wenger feels the time is now for his young Arsenal squad. The Gunners may be ready to move to bring veteran former captain Patrick Vieira back to the club, but Wenger insists the current crop led by Cesc Fabregas can deliver.

Arsenal host Atletico Madrid in the Emirates Cup as their preparations continue for the new campaign and the quest for a first trophy since 2005.

''This team has improved a lot as compared to last season. They played 21 games unbeaten from November until the end of the season,'' said Wenger. ''We reached the semi-final of the Champions League, FA Cup. We have a squad which is very ambitious.

''We have the basic quality, they have international quality and are under 23, so their best time is now.

''We have developed a style and culture of play that everybody accepts, so I feel confident and very strong. Our focus should not be who can help us from outside, but who can help us from inside.''

Vieira, 33, is reported to be ready to make a shock comeback to the team he left for Juventus in 2005.

With both striker Emmanuel Adebayor and defender Kolo Toure having joined big-spending Manchester City, Wenger certainly has the funds available to move for his old enforcer, most likely on a pay-as-you-play deal. Vieira is surplus to requirements at Inter Milan.

Although arch-rivals Tottenham, newly-promoted Birmingham and French side Paris St Germain have made public their interest, Wenger remained coy about his plans when quizzed ahead of this weekend's Emirates Cup tournament, which also features Scottish champions Rangers on Sunday.

However, the Arsenal boss - also tracking Bordeaux's Moroccan striker Marouane Chamakh - refused to rule out a reunion with his one-time midfield general, who spent nine glorious years at Highbury.

''There is a football decision and there is a psychological impact of a player of that stature coming in,'' said Wenger. ''But at the moment we need to look at the level of experience in your squad to make this kind of decision.

''We are nowhere near to making a decision like that, but it is a possibility. We do not rule it out and we do not say we will do it - and that is my decision at the moment.''

Wenger continued: ''I am aware that he wants to come here. I think Patrick is a legend here and he would always like to come back to this club. That would be his first choice.

''With emotion you always like the club you spent time with. But as a professional as well, you always give 100% for whichever club you sign for.''

One player who will not be involved against Atletico is Theo Walcott, who will be given extra time off following a busy summer of international football.

Wenger, though, was left less than impressed by the youngster's involvement for the under-21s at the European Championships in Sweden as well as Fabio Capello's national team.

''I was not in fairness a supporter of his experience with the under-21s for one simple reason: the youth teams are there to promote the players into the first team and once they are there, especially at national level, I don't see why they go back again to the under-21s,'' said Wenger.

''The target is not to promote the players from the first team to the second team, they are supposed to be promoted from the second team to the first team.''

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