He could complete the transition by taking over the captain's armband and leading Arsenal's crop of young but undoubtedly talented stars to the kind of success experienced during Vieira's time.

Here we compare the two players.


FABREGAS - Technically excellent, the young Spaniard has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past two seasons. With an extensive passing range, Fabregas occupies the role of playmaker in the Gunners side, dictating the pace and rhythm of every attack.


VIEIRA - Strong, tall and athletic, very few players get the better of this imposing midfielder. A danger in the air and hard in the tackle Vieira has built a reputation as the complete midfielder. However, his fiery temper has on occasions undermined his performances and he received nine red cards during his Arsenal career.


International pedigree:

FABREGAS - A relative newcomer to the international scene, the 20-year-old has so far been unable to provide the catalyst for football's perennial underachievers, Spain. Fabregas came head to head with Vieira in the second round of the 2006 World Cup. The Spaniards lost 3-1.


VIEIRA - Vieira has won both the World Cup and European Championships in an illustrious international career. With over 100 caps to his name, the France captain has become an automatic choice for every French manager since 2000.



FABREGAS - Widely regarded as the biggest success of Arsene Wenger's youth policy, Fabregas has played and shone at every level of club football. The Spaniard was an integral part of the Gunner's 2006 Champions League run where en route to the final the young Catalan eclipsed his former team-mate, Vieira, as Juventus were humbled at Highbury.


VIEIRA - Having played on every major stage in the game, the Frenchman can draw on a vast wealth of experience that few other players can compete with. An inspirational presence for successful teams in two of European football's most competitive leagues makes Vieira one of the most experienced players around.



FABREGAS - A change in stadium, accompanied by a string of big-name departures have meant the Gunners have failed to hit the heights of their Premiership-winning campaigns and fans have had to look on with envy as their biggest rivals have spent lavishly. The result, no major silverware since the FA Cup in 2005 and perhaps more significantly since Vieira's departure.


VIEIRA - Vieira created history in the 2003/2004 season by captaining Arsenal to an unprecedented unbeaten Premiership campaign. However, League and Cup doubles in 1998 and 2002 were not enough for the Frenchman. A move to Italy followed where he picked up a Scudetto winners medal with Internazionale.


Overall score:

Fabregas: 28

Vieira: 36

The Frenchman has experience on his side, with the silverware to match. But with Fabregas likely to only get better his time will come to lead the Gunners into a new era.