Patrick Viera's new non-playing role at Manchester City has been brought into question by many within the game. But a revealing interview this week has lifted the lid on Viera's influence at the Etihad Stadium - could the French World Cup winner be City's next chief executive?
Viera's experience and knowledge of the game could easily have been put to use in a managerial role, he would have had his pick of some of the top vacancies in Europe, but the Frenchman is keen to learn about the business of football, both on and off the pitch.
"I think it is a mistake to go straight into management," Vieira said on telegraph.co.uk.
"It sometimes can work for one or two years but in the long term it will be difficult. You have to go step by step. There is a process to follow and I will take my time doing that.
"It is completely new to me. I'm working with different departments. I have worked with the community department and the sponsorship department, seeing how they do commercial deals. I also work with the academy, the first-team squad and I will go and look at players that the club are interested in and give my opinions. It is a fantastic opportunity for me."
Viera is learning from one of English football's top administrators, tapping into the wealth of knowledge that Manchester City's football administration officer, Brian Marwood, has garnered during his years behind the scenes at City.
"It is exciting to be around Brian to watch how he works, how he runs the football club," Vieira said.
"He's been fantastic. He's taken time to explain things to me. Even if I don't understand the first time he will explain it a second or third time. The way the club is growing at the moment makes it the perfect place to learn. In the last three years this club has grown in a way that it would take 15 years at another club."
So could Patrick Viera be a winner off the field as well as on it, his new boss believes so.
Marwood said: "This is a big change in his life and, as bright and articulate as he is, we have to make sure we give him the right support.
"When we signed Patrick I remember telling Garry Cook that he would be one of the best signings we will ever make. I knew the influence he could have on this football club and now we are seeing it happen. He's going to offer so much to us."
Garry Cook might just be looking over his shoulder!