LONDON, January 8 – Inter Milan midfielder Patrick Vieira confirmed on Thursday he is set to complete a dramatic return to English football by joining Manchester City.The former Arsenal captain moved closer to the deal when he underwent a medical on Thursday, ahead of a agreement which it is reported will keep him at the Premier League club until the end of the 2010/2011 season.
"I wanted to go to the World Cup and I need match play," Vieria told French sports channel Infosport of his decision to leave the Italian champions.
"It’s over, after a year at Turin and three and a half years at Milan," he said. "I have aims and I can’t achieve them by staying at Inter where I’m not in favour with the coach.
"What’s important for me is to go to Manchester City, to show the coach (Roberto Mancini) that I’m the same as the time when he was at Inter. All that will help me to get into the France team."
Vieira was reported to have flown into England on Thursday, having played his last match for Inter Milan – the club where City manager Roberto Mancini was previously in charge – against Chievo on Wednesday.
Barring any last minute problems, such as fitness test issues or personal terms, France great Vieira could be confirmed as a City player as early as later on Thursday, although City could hold over any announcement until Friday.
The 33-year-old midfielder would add defensive resilience to a City side often criticised for letting in too many goals under former boss Mark Hughes.
Vieira’s arrival would represent Mancini’s first signing since he replaced Hughes three weeks ago and be the latest high-profile purchase by City, who this week announced that a huge annual loss of 92.8 million pounds would be effectively wiped out by their wealthy Abu Dhabi-based owner Sheikh Mansour.
Vieira has had a shaky past three seasons at Inter Milan and, now on the fringes of the France team, he is desperate for first team football to boost his chances of featuring in Raymond Domenech’s squad for the World Cup finals in South Africa later this year.
Inter manager Jose Mourinho, who won the Premier League title with Chelsea, said on Wednesday he believed Vieira was about to return to England.
"He hasn’t said a word to anybody but he has mentioned the English Premier League," Mourinho said.
Mancini was Vieira’s first coach at Inter after the player arrived in Milan following a season with Italian rivals Juventus.