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Arsene Wenger admits the speculation surrounding Patrick Vieira's future is overshadowing Arsenal's pre-season preparations, but will continue talks with the French midfielder in a bid to keep him at Highbury.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is a keen admirer of Vieira and seems prepared to bankroll a suggested £30million swoop for the World Cup and European Championship winner as new boss Jose Antonio Camacho looks to build a side for another assault on the Champions League.
Vieira is under contract with the Gunners until 2007, but is reported to be ready to quit Highbury, where he has nothing left to prove domestically having now won both of England's major domestic honours.
Along with the other Euro 2004 players in the Arsenal squad, Vieira was flown out by private jet to Austria ahead of Saturday night's friendly with Grazer AK.
And the 28-year-old was clearly irritated when asked by a journalist from Spanish paper Marca in a hotel lobby if he would like a move to the Bernabeu.
"I am sorry," said Vieira. "I can not speak. This is not the right moment. I can not talk about R