Patrick Vieira did not go to Spain to discuss a multi-million pound transfer to Real Madrid, according to the player’s Spanish-based representative.
The midfielder’s future at Arsenal has been the subject of intense speculation since Tuesday when newspapers in the Spanish capital reported Vieira was in the city with agent Marc Roger to meet Real officials.
But Vieira’s representative Santos Marquez, who was involved in Luis Figo’s £37m move to Real, said today: ‘‘I know Real Madrid are interested in the signing and there has been contact, but I am certain Real Madrid, being a gentlemanly club, would call Arsenal and agree a deal before negotiating with the player.’’
Marquez did not elaborate on when the contact took place, or which other parties were involved.
As for Roger, Marquez said: ‘‘Marc was in Madrid to sort out some things with Real Madrid midfielder Claude Makelele but nothing else.’’
He added: ‘‘...if he (Vieira) was (in Madrid) then it must have been for personal motives and nothing related to football; people can do what they want on their day off, can’t they?’’
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez was the driving force behind the world-record signings of Figo and Zinedine Zidane and he is a well-known admirer of Vieira, whose contract expires in 2004.
And Marquez said: ‘‘If Florentino Perez wants him, I have no doubt he will get him.
‘‘Last season he wanted Zidane and he got him and before that he got Figo when nobody thought it was possible.’’
Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood today reacted angrily to news that Real and Vieira appear to have met without the Highbury club’s knowledge.
‘‘From what has been coming out it seems Patrick has met Real Madrid,’’ he said.
‘‘It is very irritating when you take a lot of time and trouble to sort out lucrative deals with players and then find out it is a waste of your time.’’
Marquez though believes the Spanish champions would not be part of any underhand dealings.
‘‘Real Madrid give a good example, I am convinced of that and I am certain they will do things in the best possible way,’’ said Marquez.