City have spent more than £400million on new players since the arrival of Sheikh Mansour in 2008.
"In the past we spent money because we wanted to build a successful team quickly," Vieira told TalkSport. "When you want to bring in big-name players you have to spend money.
"Now we have a really young team and in football there are always cycles. I believe Manchester City are now starting a cycle that will give us time to start working with youth team players.
"The football academy is important when you believe in youth development. If you want to be one of the best clubs in the world, you have to give young talent a chance."