Nelson David Vivas was born 18 October 1969 in Santa Fe, Argentina with a rare ability to play anywhere in midfield or defence.

After seven years as a professional in South America he came to Europe and started with AC Lugano on loan, after which Arsenal signed him for £1.6m in August 1998.

However at the time we had Dixon and Winterburn, and later we got Silvinho and Oleg Luzhny, the Vivas’ main function was always to be a backup and utility substitute.   40 of his 69 Arsenal appearances were as a substitute, but that never stopped the north bank chanting his name.  Quite why remains a mystery to me, but somehow no one ever really turned against him.

The trouble is that although he was a gifted midfielder his chosen position was in defence, and he was not that good at tackling.  Looking at the figures below it is clear from his goal tally that he actually started in attack and attacking midfield.  Maybe his career would have been better if he had been able to stay there.

Vivas moved on loan to Celta Vigo and then left at the end of his contract before joining Inter Milan on a free transfer in 2001.

Years Team Games Goals



1990–1994 Quilmes 93 33
1994–1997 Boca Juniors 86 3
1997–1998 Lugano 22 1
1998–2001 Arsenal 40 1
2000 Celta de Vigo 13 0
2001–2003 Internazionale 19 0
2003 River Plate 7 0
2004–2005 Quilmes 24 0
Total 304 38

His problems in breaking into the team continued at Inter, and eventually he returned to Argentina.   He has since moved into coaching in Argentine football.


The books…

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