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Are Arsenal Fans REALLY Happy About Silvestre Signing?

I’ve had Arsenal fans bombarding this blog, telling me how good Mikael Silvestre is and what a good signing he is for Arsenal. I struggle to believe that any of these fans would have been saying the same thing a week ago if TribalFootball was running the story. Whilst admittedly having a soft spot for Silly, as he is affectionately known amongst our fans, he has been one of the worst players we’ve had in our squad for the 9 years he’s been with us (which isn’t a horrible slating, when considering the talent we’ve had in our team in the time Silvestre has been with us). Kleberson, Djemba-Djemba and the like, have relieved Silvestre of the unwanted title at times, and bless him, he does try, but he never fit in at United. Whilst doing a job for us, getting on with it quietly and without complaining, the shouts of criticism from the stands are more often than not directed at Silvestre when he’s on the pitch.

Now, we can (and have) been accused of being bitter. Now, if United had just sold Wayne Rooney, Owen Hargreaves, Patrice Evra etc. we’d have every reason to be bitter. But I just don’t understand how we possibly could be over Silvestre. I’ll be amused by this far more than I’ll ever be upset, whatever the transfer fee or whatever he does in an Arsenal shirt, because it is funny that Arsene Wenger wants to sign players from us who are nowhere near our first XI.

The Guardian is less biased or connected with the club than I am, so maybe we can trust their viewpoint on him better than mine? Let’s just see how bitter we stand to be that Silvestre has signed for Arsenal with a short review they gave on Silvestre back in May.

What he does: Mixes imperious 70-yard crossfield balls with pitiful seven-yard passes straight to a member of the opposition. Defends immaculately for 89 minutes and 58 seconds before going for his siesta and being punished for it by top-class wingers such as Gary Teale and Glen Little.

How fans view him: As something of a pea-brain, sadly. An easy scapegoat, given his sporadic shockers; most fans feel that every Silvestre lining has a cloud.

Sorry to break it to the Arsenal fans, but we really have no reason to be bitter, and are typically united in finding the comedy value in this situation. So, what do the Gunners really make of this signing?

From Arseblog, August 20th

“A Terrible Waking Nightmare, it must be”

I have these strange and weird dreams that make no kind of sense to me at all. Vivid motion picture dreams but at the same time I’m convinced that I’m not asleep. It’s all terribly confusing. I mean, last night I dreamt that we were about to sign Mikael Silvestre from Manchester United…

… Anyway, we can all look forward to the ‘Mikael is an experienced, versatile player who can play at left-back, centre-half, left-wing, central midfield, up front, did I mention central-midfield?, all across the back four and, most importantly, in central midfield’ statement from the boss when he signs. I don’t know whether to cry or weep. In seriousness though, I’m weeping…

…This is ridiculous. I mean, Silvestre. I’m going to wake up any minute now and have a good laugh, like when you dream you kill someone and you can’t believe it and the police are after you and then you wake up and you go ‘Phew, it was all a dream’.

August 21st

I have to admit being somewhat underwhelmed by this signing. Leaving aside the personal enmity I have felt for the player during his United days I’m asking why Alex Ferguson would sell him to us. Reverse the situation – would we sell United a player who we thought would improve them? It would be extremely foolish of us to do so, wouldn’t it? And whatever you might think of Demento he’s no fool. Does he believe Silvestre is past it or is he just not that worried about us?…

…Then I look at the fact that the only other clubs interested in him were Sunderland and Manchester City and I just can’t help feeling we’re scratching around in the bargain bins again. I don’t think too many people would argue that our defence could do with some improvement but if the boss is really serious about it wouldn’t he be better off bringing in somebody better than a United cast-off? Where is our Vidic or Agger or Laursen?

It really is a very strange deal altogether and I’m struggling to see the logic of it – especially when you read about us letting Djourou, who has impressed in pre-season, go out on loan because we have Silvestre now.

I suppose the fact of the matter is, if Sir Alex Ferguson, who knows far more about Silvestre than Wenger, really believed the defender to be any good, he would not be selling him to our supposed title rivals. People haven’t already forgotten the stink Fergie kicked up to prevent Gabriel Heinze moving to Liverpool? Injuries and ability combined, 31-year-old Silvestre is not going to be a loss to our squad. I’d far rather see one of the impressive Da Silva twins filling in.

If United had just bought a past-it Arsenal reject, there is no doubt in my mind I’d be on here trying to seek out the benefits or the story behind Fergie’s logic. I’d be reading up on any good games the player had and trying to work out how it could reflect positively for us. United fans would be posting on the laughing Arsenal blogs about what a coup it was, whilst the Arsenal fans thoroughly enjoyed the moment. Fortunately, it’s United fans that get to do the smiling today.

Football fans eh?

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. austin says:

    come off it goons. who are some of u trying to kid. urselves?
    silvestre has never been anything more than a pain in the arse. not cos of his attitude or anything like that(which is why uve prob not heard many bad words about him, either that or u aint listened hard enough!)
    the guy is an accident waiting to happen. fortunately not for us anymore.
    but hey, hes a LOT better backup than senderos. he needs to drop down a league. so its a good move for you guys that should ensure you keep ur status as champions league backdoor boys!

  2. Tom F says:

    I am lazy.

    I always let sentiment go before sense when it comes to players, so I have never really had a problem with him. He has like Fergie said been a great servent to the club, remaining a loyal squad player for years.

    I also for some sick reason kind of like the dealing being done between us and Arsenal, after all I have more respect for them than any of our TROPHY rivals. I love the way Arsenal fans are salvating over him after being the first to slag him off too.

    “Arsene Wenger can turn a mediocre player like Silvestre into a tremendous player”

    Silvestre is hardly potential! He’s a seasoned pro, he’s played for United for almost 10 years, it’s not like he is going to learn anything new. Just get more games which is good where ever you are.

    I think it’s a good deal getting rid before he’d be offered a testimonial. 750k though, that’s cheap as Arsene Wengers other chips!

  3. looneygooner says:

    It is a strange signing as I believe he was one year away from his testimonial, but only time will tell whether he was worth it, but his experience could be valuable in a lot of ways

  4. Anto Griffin says:

    Is it me or is ‘Jeoff’ on here an awful lot for a gooner? I don’t just mean this post – he’s popping up everywhere with snide comments. I suppose it’s a compliment really, obviously nothing worth reading on the Arse blogs.

  5. Magic Hat says:

    Hey Scott, MH here from TGM.

    Just thought I’d give my 2 cents on this random signing.

    I’m far from satisfied in all honesty, much prefered someone with a longer shelf life. It could turn out to be a shrewd bit of business, but only if this signing is complimented with another. I just hope this doesn’t spell the end of our shopping this summer, because if it does then I’ll be very concerned.

    As far as back up/squad players go, I’m comfortable to have Silvestre slotting in ahead of Senderos/Djourou. Plus he has stacks of experience and is bound to have a winning mentality after all the medals he chalked up with you guys. I just wonder how much injuries and age have taken it’s toll on him.

    Time will tell.

  6. Ole P. Pedersen says:

    I think this is sound business for both clubs. Being at OT on Sunday, we had four(!) defenders on the bench, yet Silvestre was in the stands (or wherever they kept him). United have too many 30+-players as it is. One thing Ferguson has always kept an eye on, is the age structure of the squad. Silvestre is a good defender, but he’s not Vidic nor Evra, which is why I think many United fans now says good riddance. He did overall a good job for nine years, and though opposition fans doesn’t want to hear it, Fergie actually has a lot of time for loyal players, and I don’t think he minds Silvestre joining a rival one bit. It is nice to see that our defender number nine joins one of the other so-called big four. And compared to Chelsea and Liverpool, there is no doubt which club United respect the most, even with the media-created anomosity between Wenger and Ferguson :-) As for all the so-called secrets, I don’t think we should over-intellectualize a dressing room…

    Arsenal gets a solid defender, we get one less excuse for not putting a youngster in the squad. Good luck, Mickael, you never wailed in Marca about wanting to join someone else.

  7. twinnyd says:

    Hahaha…..I have waited all my life to hear this good news!!!getting rid of silvestre with 750,000 to pocket…..Fergie you’re a genius!! Also it doesnt surprise me that it’s the gooner fans who are making the whole noise out of this laughing stock of a news.Poor gooners.u all must be feeling a little confused,sad or happy right now…aren’t u?
    Thanks for taking him off our backs.Now Fabio can get a proper run out. Merci beaucoup Monsieur Wenger!!!!

    Viva Manchester United.

  8. Jeoff says:

    Finish work soon Anto, so sadly you probably won’t hear from me again for a while.

    It is a compliment, very few of the Arsenal blogs are this unintentionally amusing.

  9. OTRed says:

    Silvestre, not good enough for Man United cover, but good enough for Arsenal cover…wow…nuff said

    To the people asking who is our CB cover if Rio or Vida get crocked, honestly haven’t you ever heard of the name JOHNNY EVANS???? the Irish boy who we loaned to Sunderland and we can say was one of the main reasons they stayed up, so good that the Sunderland fans were already talking great things he could do for the club if he stayed, Keane was also ready to fork out money in the region of £10m+ plus for him at 20. To see how class he is, watch the Ireland vs. Scotland game yesterday…cover for Vida or Rio is the least of our problems.

  10. Jig says:

    Silvestre is grand, he’s no superstar but he’ll fill a gap when needed, his concentration is disastrous and he can be a liability at times but he’ll get stuck in. Not a bad crosser of the balls (on occasion) either.

    To suggest Utd fans thought he was great until he was sold to Arsenal is a serious stretch though. He’s been berated for a long time and I personally have never heard a Utd fan sticking up for him. Is it not obvious that when everyone is wishing a player good luck with our title rivals that we don’t rate him too highly?

    Regarding Fletcher, Campbell and Veron, I reckon that’s a bit rich. Fletcher has dominated the much-lauded Arsenal midfield on a number of occasions, Campbell is a young kid with bags of potential and a genuine love for the club and although Veron didn’t shine as expected he put in some amazing performances and I still regard him as one of the most talented, if not impact full, footballers I have ever seen.


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