According to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, the former Arsenal midfielder is being lined up as the next New York City FC head coach due to the Citizens' US-based sister club enduring a largely frustrating inaugural campaign under the stewardship of Jason Kreis.
The team have already been eliminated from play-off contention ahead of Sunday’s regular-season finale against the New England Revolution and look set to finish in eight-place in the Eastern Conference, despite having the likes of David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard at their disposal.
Vieira, who ended his playing career at City in 2011 before accepting a youth development role, has been managing the Premier League club’s Elite Development Squad for the past three seasons and ownership is known to hold him in high regard.
The 39-year-old Frenchman was reportedly interviewed for the managerial vacancy at Newcastle United in June but the two parties could not come to an agreement due to a difference in policies [h/t Sky Sports].
He would certainly be an intriguing hire for NYCFC, especially given his familiarity with City youngsters like Shay Facey and Angelino, who have both spent time on loan in New York this season and could return to Yankee Stadium for 2016, although talks are said to be tentative at this stage.
That said, despite their disappointing campaign, sacking Kreis would still seem like a harsh decision, especially when taking into account that no MLS expansion team has made the play-offs since the Seattle Sounders in 2009.
Widely considered one of the league's best head coaches, the former USA striker previously won the 2009 MLS Cup title with Real Salt Lake and led the Utah outfit to the post-season in each subsequent season through 2013, including an appearance in the 2013 MLS Cup.
He would without doubt be in high demand were he to be relieved of his duties in the near future and, given Vieira’s lack of experience with dealing with the various rules and intricacies of MLS, replacing him with the Gunners legend could well come back to bite NYCFC.