Former Arsenal midfielder and two-time Premier League champion Edu has declared that the Gunners will never replace club legend Patrick Vieira, even 12 years on from the Frenchman's departure, because he was 'one of the greatest.'
Vieira left Arsenal for Juventus in the summer of 2005 shortly after converting the winning penalty in an FA Cup final shootout against Manchester United, kicking off a nine-year trophy drought for the club. Even after the barren spell came to an end, Arsenal have always lacked bite in their team since Vieira.
The Gunners have never come close to replacing him. According to Edu, they never will.
"Patrick... amazing. People want to sign another Vieira? Forget about it. Never," he told the Daily Mail in an interview this week.
For the Brazilian, who later went on to play for Valencia after leaving Arsenal around the same time as Vieira, his former colleague had the edge of fierce long-term rival Roy Keane as well.
"Patrick was one of the greatest. Better than Roy Keane. I have huge respect for Keane but Patrick was a more complete player," Edu recalled.
The personal on-pitch battles between Vieira and Keane characterised Arsenal vs Manchester United games for years, with every encounter ready to boil over in a way that is no longer expected years after both men hung up their boots.
Edu has....(fond?) memories of those days and the more infamous games against United, including the 'Battle of Old Trafford in 2003' and the 'Battle of the Buffet' the following year.
"I played the day Keown jumped on Van Nistelrooy, the pizza in the tunnel... what a mess!" he said.