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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Silvestre move to Gunners stuns Vidic

Nemanja Vidic admitted Mikael Silvestre has stunned all his old Manchester United team-mates by signing for Premier League rivals Arsenal.

After looking close to joining Sunderland and Manchester City, Silvestre eventually jumped at the chance of playing under Arsene Wenger, ending a nine-year association with the Old Trafford outfit yesterday by signing a two-year contract for a £750,000 transfer fee.

It is the first direct transfer between the two clubs since 1987, when Viv Anderson moved north to become one of Sir Alex Ferguson's first recruits as United boss, and Vidic can still scarcely believe it.

'It surprised me. In fact I think it has come as a surprise to everyone,' he said.

'It is not often a player leaves one big club to go to another like Arsenal or Liverpool. It does not tend to happen.

'But Mikael did not play much last year and I think he just wanted to go somewhere where he would, so in that sense I am happy for him.'

Vidic has grown close to the former France international during his own two-and-a-half year stint.

And, while it was obvious Silvestre's first-team chances at United were strictly limited, Vidic believes the 31-year-old is still a class act.

'He has been here a long time and he still deserves to play at the highest level,' said the Serbian.

'Mikael has given so much to this club. I am just surprised he is going to Arsenal. But he has made the choice.'

Vidic can look forward to pitting his wits against Silvestre later in the season.

Silvestre adds savvy to young Gunners

The Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, says Mikaël Silvestre will add an extra dimension to his youthful squad and bolster the Gunners' challenge for honours. The French defender completed his move from Manchester United yesterday on a two-year deal for £750,000. Wenger said: "We have a strong squad but a young squad and Mikaël'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 Mikaël has top-level experience and a great understanding of football in the Premier League."
Ryan Borroff, The Guardian

Silvestre seals Gunners move

Mikael Silvestre has completed a transfer to Arsenal for an undisclosed fee, bringing down the curtain on a nine-year Manchester United career.

The French defender, who joined from Internazionale in September 1999, made 361 appearances for the Reds, scoring 10 goals and winning 10 major honours.

Speaking after Silvestre had completed the formalities of his move, Sir Alex Ferguson told “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.”

Silvestre performed in the centre or left side of defence for the Reds, but was hit by serious back-to-back injuries in his United career, suffering a dislocated shoulder and cruciate knee ligament damage in 2007.

With Patrice Evra established as United’s first-choice left back, and the central partnership of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand seemingly set in stone, Mikael was unlikely to find regular first team football at Old Trafford this season.

Arsenal have swooped to add Silvestre’s international experience to their backline, and the popular Frenchman joins compatriots William Gallas, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Abou Diaby, Armand Traore and Samir Nasri at the Emirates Stadium.

Mikael has penned a two-year deal and will wear the number 18 shirt for the Gunners