Vieira plays down Arsenal links

Patrick Viera says Mario Balotelli remains a key man for Nice despite having to settle for a bench role against Paeis Saint-Germain.

Patrick Vieira has played down reports he could take charge of Arsenal and says he has no plans to leave French outfit Nice.

The Gunners are on the hunt for a new permanent manager after sacking Unai Emery earlier this week.

Former Arsenal midfielder Vieira has been suggested as a potential target but the Frenchman says he is fully focused on current club Nice.

“There are things I don’t control. People say a lot of things in this industry, whether they’re true or not. I have nothing to say on the matter,” Vieira said after Nice overcame Angers 3-1 on Saturday evening.

“Like you, I read things, watch things and listen to things. That’s all. I have never said I wanted to leave Nice. Maybe one day I’ll be sacked without wanting to leave Nice. I know where I am and I know where I’m going and it doesn’t bother me.”

Vieira’s former Arsenal team-mate Freddie Ljungberg has been placed in temporary charge of the Gunners and he could yet secure the job on a permanent basis if he manages to impress.

Former Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri, Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta, ex Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino and Wolves’ Nuno Espirito Santo are all considered potential successors to Emery.

Vieira’s Nice sit in 11th spot in the Ligue 1 table after a mixed start to the season and they are next in action on Wednesday when they travel to Saint-Etienne.