France coach Raymond Domenech has welcomed Patrick Vieira's move to Manchester City and confirmed that a return to the Premier League could help secure the midfielder's place at the World Cup finals.
Vieira - who represented Arsenal with distinction between 1996 and 2005, winning three Premier League titles - has joined City from Inter Milan on an initial six-month deal.
The midfielder has struggled for first-team football under Jose Mourinho this season at Inter and a move to City sees him reunite with former Nerazzurri coach Roberto Mancini, with Vieira the first signing of the Italian's reign at Eastlands.
He has not represented France in a competitive international since September 2007 but Domenech will consider Vieira for his 23-man squad if he impresses in the second half of the season at Eastlands.
"His departure from Milan is good news. We had been talking about it for months. Patrick needed to play, never mind where, and what's more, he ends up at a very good club," Domenech told sports daily L'Equipe.
"It's good for him, it's good for Les Bleus. If he plays and if he plays at his true level, there is no reason why he shouldn't come to South Africa. He is a talented player with a lot of experience and charisma. If he plays, he will be more than a candidate."