Vieira urges duo to stay
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Patrick Vieira has urged Ashley Cole and Jose Antonio Reyes to stay at Arsenal.Patrick Vieira has urged Ashley Cole and Jose Antonio Reyes to stay at Arsenal.
The Frenchman skippered The Gunners to FA Cup victory on Saturday, taking the final penalty which clinched the trophy in Cardiff.
Vieira is now looking for Arsene Wenger to bring in a few new faces to freshen up the squad for a fresh assault on the Premiership title next term.
Despite Chelsea's dominance this season, Arsenal have been in great form themselves and the number of young players coming through bodes well for next season.
The biggest doubts over Arsenal players are with Ashley Cole, subject of a tapping up case involving Chelsea, and Reyes who has been linked with a move to Real Madrid.
Vieira has urged both men to stay in North London if Arsenal are to come back bigger and stronger next season.
"What is important is for us to keep our players because that is the way we will improve and of course if one or two new ones can come in that will make us even stronger, but the basis is to keep our players," said Vieira.
"Of course it is important that players like Ashley Cole and Reyes stay but it's not for me to say because with all the speculations about me last year I did not receive any comments from the other players.
"But it would be nice for everybody to stay, if we want to improve every year the basis is to keep our players."
Despite all the allegations following Cole, Vieira insists nobody has ever questioned his loyalty throughout the case.
"Ashley is a very strong character, no doubt about it. And of course I've had some chats with him about it because I've been in that position.
"But the way he has been playing in the last few months shows how much he loves the club and how much he wants to stay at the club so I think if the club wants to keep him they have to make an effort, and that's normal.
"As players we have never had any question about Ashley, we know how determined he is and the way he loves the club, he has been here since he was a kid.
"You can ask anybody and they will tell you that he loves the club and he showed that in this final."
Vieira is delighted Dennis Bergkamp will be at Highbury for another 12 months, and says he can help the club make a stronger title challenge next season.
"Dennis will sign a new contract and that is good new because we are losing Edu who has been important for the club over the last five years.
"It is very important for us because with Dennis' experience all the young players coming through - Reyes, van Persie and the others - can learn from him.
"If we keep the same spirit next season then I think we have a good chance of challenging for the title.
"The way they played Manchester United showed that they will be challenging as well and Liverpool could too as they are in the Champions League final.
"In the last 10 years it has been between Manchester United and Arsenal but now there could be four teams or even more."