Silvestre swaps United for Gunners

It is not a very common thing to have players transferring between the top clubs in English football. However, it has happened before, and thus it is only a minor shock to have a player joining his previous club’s biggest rival. This is what Mikael Silvestre, the 31-year old Man Utd defender has just done. It was officially announced that the player has joined the Arsenal party to strengthen the defensive department of the club. Although undisclosed, the fee is thought to be around £750,000. The move goes against Wenger’s policy of giving one-year contracts to over-30 players, as Mikael has signed a two-year deal.

After spending 9 years at Old Trafford, but rarely getting a straight run of first-team action, Silvestre acknowledged the effect that the club has had on his career, and thanked the United faithful for their support. The defender and full-back appeared 249 times in the famous Man Utd shirt, netting 6 goals in 9 years. Previously he played for Rennes and Inter Milan, before joining Man Utd in 1999 for £3.5 million. He will now join fellow Frenchman Arsene Wenger and wear the number 18 shirt for Arsenal. The last player to make the move from Man Utd to Arsenal was Brian Kidd in 1974.

Silvestre was praised by his teammates, Man Utd manager and Arsenal manager, as a great player with good knowledge of the game:

“I’m very surprised, I have been with Mikael basically all the time I’ve been in the first team squad. He is a great professional and it is sad to see him go. But he has not been playing many games at the moment and he wants to play, so all the best to him. If he wants to go I’m sure it will be good for him, as long as he is happy with it and plays games. It is rare to move from Manchester United to Arsenal, but if you are going to go anywhere why not go to a good team and I’m sure that’s what Mikael will be thinking.” - Wesley Brown (Man Utd defender)

“Mikael was a great servant and a wonderful professional. We wish him all the best at his new club and thank him for his service.” - Sir Alex Ferguson (Man Utd manager)

“Mikael’s versatility, experience and calibre will provide the extra depth we need to reinforce our challenge for honours this season. His defensive adaptability will serve us well and it’s a big plus that Mikael has top-level experience and a great understanding of football in the Premier League.” - Arsene Wenger (Arsenal Manager)

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