Arsene Wenger believes it was probably better Patrick Vieira did not come back to Arsenal - thus forever preserving his legendary status.
The veteran France midfielder, who turns 34 this summer, could face his old club in Saturday afternoon's late kick-off against Manchester City at Emirates Stadium.
Wenger has maintained a close relationship with his long-time captain and midfielder general, who left Highbury for Juventus during July 2005, but said: "He was a massive success with Arsenal, is a legend here and will always remain so. Maybe it is better like that."
It had appeared as if Vieira was set for a return to his old club last summer when it was clear he was going to leave Inter Milan in search of regular first-team football.
Wenger, though, felt the move would have not been in the best interests of either club or player with the likes of Alex Song and Aaron Ramsey both already pressing for place in the side.
"I always had a chat with Patrick when he was available again," said Wenger.
"Arsenal was massive for him, but it was also important for him to play when he came back to England. In the end, I was not involved at all when he went to Manchester City. The signing was very quick."
Wenger, meanwhile, has called on Arsenal fans and players alike not to target Emmanuel Adebayor when the controversial former Gunners striker returns to Emirates Stadium for the first time.
"We have always had the same line of conduct - to respect what they have done for us and we want our fans to respect that as well and encourage our team," Wenger said.
"No matter what happened in the first game, it is important that we have a positive attitude and encourage our players."