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Arsenal ACTUALLY Sign Silvestre – Remember When He Nutted Ljungberg…

Back in May, I offered a fond farewell to Mikael Silvestre, realising that after returning from injury it was finally time for him to go. He’s been regarded as a bit of a joke at United for a long time, a player tolerated more than appreciated. He’ll have his good games, but will have at least five shameful performances to accommodate for each of these. He makes stupid mistakes and whether played as a full back or in the centre of defence, is caught out far too often.

However, he has been a loyal servant for United, probably spawned from the fact he knew he was punching above his weight when given a starting place at our club, which he had for several seasons.

It’s rather fitting that he will don the old shirt of another French defending joke, Pascal Cygan.

Like I said when I heard City were in the running to sign Silvestre, I do have a soft spot for him. He’s been at the club for 9 years, winning 4 league titles with us, and whilst never a brilliant player, he has done a job for us.

The overriding memory of Silvestre is probably the evening when he headbutted Arsenal’s Freddie Ljungberg. The usual docile defender seemingly lost the plot when confronted with Mr Calvin Klein, receiving the first and only red card of his career.

United had ended Arsenal’s 49 game unbeaten run earlier that season, in a game that saw Arsenal get away just one shot on goal, with Silvestre playing the centre of our defence alongside Rio Ferdinand. The away fixture was promised to be the occasion where Arsenal got their revenge, however they got battered 4-2 at Highbury.

With more than 20 minutes left to play, Silvestre was given his marching orders, with United 3-2 up at the time. Fortunately for us, John O’Shea sealed the points for us with a top quality goal.

A red card that day, it was an assist the season following, with Silvestre being the man to play a beautiful ball in to Rooney in our 2-0 win over them in 2006.

Of course, Silvestre has had more positive moments to outshine the occasion where he nutted one of the Premiership’s most dislikeable characters. Whilst frequently defensively weak, Silvestre has always offered a lot to the attack. In his second season, he ran 50 yards, taking on a couple of Panathinaikos defenders, before his shot was parried in to the path of Scholes for our third goal.

In the 2001-2002 season, Silvestre was one of the few players that could receive some praise for his performances, however, over the next few years Wes Brown was above Silvestre in pecking order.

His high points are definitely the goals he’s scored against Liverpool and Leeds, but since the arrival of Gabriel Heinze, then Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic, he hasn’t had a look in, with his playing time hampered further by injury.

The fact that Sir Alex Ferguson is willing to sell Silvestre to our supposed title rivals speaks volumes about Fergie’s opinion of Silvestre’s quality, as much as it does his expectation of Arsenal’s title hopes. Lest we forget, it was only a year ago that Fergie dug his heels in when it came to selling Gabriel Heinze to Liverpool.

“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,” said Fergie.

Whilst I’ll find it weird to see Silvestre in an Arsenal shirt, I find the whole situation hilarious. Silvestre stopped being good enough for us years ago, and the fact Wenger would offer him a 2-year-deal is pretty amusing. I’m sure Arsenal fans will try and find the silver-lining to this, assuming that Arsene Wenger knows what he’s doing, but just a couple of days ago, I’m sure they would have pissed themselves at the idea of signing Silvestre.

“I’ve spent a large part of my career at United, the last nine years, and I’ll remember that time fondly but feel I’m ready for a new challenge,” said Silvestre.

He will offer them a much needed experience along the backline and maybe Wenger sees him displacing the apparently wonderful Gael Clichy, who has been blamed for Arsenal’s demise last season, from the back four.

“I never even thought about him but he is just the type of player we need,” said Arsenal hero Frank McLintock, who lead the club to the 1971 double. “He has bags of experience and won’t cost a lot as he is 31. Being French, he’ll have no trouble settling in.” Takes the wind out of my sails when it’s common practice to see them as a little piece of France in North London.

All in all though, a fairly funny situation for United fans, and I wish ol Silly all the best.

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. UnitedRay says:

    All the best silly! Nice having ya!

  2. The GUN says:

    Arsene Wenger can turn a mediocre player like Silvestre into a tremendous player. Arsenal needs the experience anyway. He is a big player and I can see him play in the center of defence

  3. Truth says:

    The Article is rubbish. You link the Rosicky “blame” which has already been publically denied.

    Also, the word from old trafford (not some inaccruate fanboy blog) is that you HAD to flog him to get him off the wage bill. Purse strings getting tight at the Theatre of dreams it seems. I thought WE were the selling club. Happy with your transfer business this summer?

  4. TopCat79 says:

    Im an Arsenal fan,and I think that its a pretty good signing for us.
    We need a bit of experience and hes got that in abundance,and 750k is pretty good,1 year left on his contract or not-what can you get for that nowadays since the russian money came to the EPL,we got 3 million for Justin Hoyte and Liverpool payed 20million for Robbie Keane!.
    We also need extra numbers as last year proved , we were top of the leauge in March and dropped silly points aswell as losing to both Chelsea and Utd.
    Im very confident about our season ahead as last year we showed signs of things to come both in the san siro,but also OT were we played Utd of the park(check stats possesion,shots on/off corners etc)for 70 mins and how good did you guys look against everyone else both at home and in europe.
    The press always seem to try and cause unrest and undermine whats going on at the Arsenal,and fans who got on board when we signed Bergkamp seem to buy in to it.I stick to the facts and if you do that you will see that the future is bright especially when we are doing it differently in terms of investment and debts comming from overseas.
    So not meaning to sound like a Spurs fan i genuinley think we are nearly there and this could be our year.

  5. goon says:

    i think your the 1 lookin for the silver lining matey.. £750,000 is nothin these days.. whos ur defensive cover now?

  6. Hboy says:

    Any club with Wes Brown in their starting 11 should speak with great caution.

  7. Redrose says:

    Give the ball to Micky fast, when he doesn’t have to think and he is fine. Send a high, bouncing ball in his direction and he becomes mesmerised. Could be a few interesting moments in the Gooner defence this season.

  8. A says:

    You are the joke not the Frenchman. The guy won trophies at your club and yet you try to belittle his achievements instead of thanking him for his services and wishing him well. You have no class and that is plain to see.

  9. Good to be a GOONAH!! says:

    I love it when transfers are motivated by money… clearly 750k will help the Glazer debt but not as much as removing Silvestre’s salary from the books. It was much the same when teens Rossi and Pique were sold.

    You have Evans and the chap who got skinned by Nicky Butt on the weekend so your cover in defence is fine.

    40 capped French player who can understudy both of our world class fullbacks. He’s just turned 31 last week and you havepaid for his rehab for 12 months.


    we dont often shop at your store… but with this sort of service, we’ll definitely be back.

  10. Oooodz says:

    Hahahaaa… oh man… I used to really like Silvestre and a big part of me still does. But he doesn’t – and never really has – looked like the type of player that has experience he can pass onto younger players.

    Then again I’m sure he could teach Gallas a thing or two about a good attitude.

  11. bergkamp says:

    redrose we dont need silvestre for a few interesting moments , 1 question though ,now he ha left united his imunity from chopping people in the area is no longer?

  12. Prasac says:

    I can’t wait to see how he inseminate panic trough Arsenal defense.
    And I will never forget commentator on spanish D+ called him ‘comedia’.
    I hope Fletcher will be next on Wenger wish list

  13. Patrik says:

    United doesn’t want him because he’s not good enough, Arsenal wants him because he can bring something to them. I don’t understand how Arsenal-fans can see something positive in that. It simply means that United have better defenders. But I think Silvestre may improve Arsenal, because he’s won more titles than anyone at Arsenal, almost as many as all the rest put together if I’m not mistaken. Btw why is Ljungberg so disliked? Have I missed something?

  14. RedDevil says:

    Apparently, Wenger asked Silvestre if he doesn’t mind taking his honours medals to the Arab stadium and put them in the trophy cabinet. Silvestre refused because Wenger promised to give them back once Arsenal win some themselves, Silvestre said he couldn’t wait that long.

  15. Malino Ubah Azubuike says:

    Thank you prasac but it will be O’Shea not Fletcher.Fletcher knows how to score against them.

  16. Stephen says:

    Good to be a GOONAH!! Good can you take Fletcher next time and we will throw in O’Shea for free.

  17. RyanHairyGiggs& co says:

    this is a manutd blog, right? or am I mistaken because I’m sure you write about Arsenal every single day. Why don’t you focus on our team for a change, you total loser?

  18. Scott the Red says:

    Yes, this is a Manchester United blog… and Manchester United have just sold one of their players to Arsenal. God you gooners are precious.

    I don’t see why there is such a strong reaction. United fans are happy because he’s not good enough, and whatever reasons you Arsenal fans have to be happy, that’s great. Go and be happy with your new super signing elsewhere though eh?

  19. Me Me says:

    First Aaron Ramsey
    now Mikael Silvestre.

  20. Me Me says:

    RedDevil you best to be careful with your Arab comment you FISH.
    and by the way we want sara not fools like Fletcher or O’Shea for free.
    don’t worry we take care of you debt for you. “because your Worth it”

  21. Francenal says:

    After 9 years loyalty only a complete prawn wouldnt wish him all the best, especially after that beautiful headbutt! Plain truth in the matter is he was good at LB, but rubbish in the centre. Remember when he was first choice there? He was rubbish and so were we, its no coincidence. Couldnt even make the bench last week despite being down to our bare bones. Fair play to him, he’s moved to a good club who at least will be in the CL, so it could have been a worse step down. We have Evans and the Da Silvas who are the future, and they may have to wait 5 years to break into the best defence in the world. O’shea and Nev/Brown, Hargreaves can cover at RB too, its a fantastic squad.

    They have Senderos and Gallas….and now a player whos been in the reserves or treatment room the past 4 years more than in our team! Clever Fergie….got him again!

  22. Deluded Gooners says:

    Fucking hell – the amount of shit spouted out in here from Gooner is amazing. Same Silvestre that was dogturd a few years ago?
    Same Silvestre that was ridiculed against the ‘young guns’?
    Same Silvestre that hasn’t played a full season at United for a number of years?

    I’ve never seen a more bitter bunch of fans in all my life. You weren’t good enough to win the Premier League, you weren’t good enough to win the Champions League so you have to resort to talking out of your arses. Why can’t you just see that United were miles better than Arsenal last season, forget your four points nonsense – it’s still a win and a draw better – so stop making excuses and face up to the fact that you’ve won fuck all in Europe.

    Me Me – ‘What’s next? That title cup’ – Yep thats what the Premier League is referred to in England, ‘Title cup’. Although he actually speaks more sense than any other Gooner in here.

  23. gazzap says:

    scott the red, RyanHairyGiggs is Man U fan not a Gooner, you plum! He is having a go at one of his own.

    but you are right though – if you cant discuss Arsenal when your transfer a player to us then when can you discuss Arsenal?!

  24. mangetout says:

    jaap stam, van noodleroy, beckham, forlan, just a few of the players who have thrived after escaping old nafford, let’s hope silvestre is another.

  25. Azza says:

    This is a joke of a signing. It proves one of 2 things – either we are broke OR Arsene has taken up the crack pipe.

    He’ll be selling his arse down Kings Cross before we know it

  26. Francenal says:

    Whenever he likes…its his blog! if you want a neutral site, this is supposed to be biased!

  27. Stevie Morrow is God says:

    I think this is a bit of good business for both clubs. MU lower wages and off-load someone not needed, Arsenal pick up a half decent player that will offer some cover while the youngsters are out on loan.

    What I don’t understand is why you consider Ljungberg one of the most dislikeable players. All right he did those ads, but when you consider some of the c*nts around the ELP, he doesn’t rate that highly.

  28. Another gooner says:

    Got to say as an Arsenal i,m not exactly thrilled at us signing a Utd reject, and one who all told is a prettty crap defender with a penchant for giving away penalties. on the plus side he was fairly cheap and we need some players in the dressing room with experience of winning something. Besides as an attacking force from full back he has usually impressed me. so if he is back up to clichy then i’m ok with it, if he’s a 1st choice partner for Bill then i’m going to shoot one of myself, le boss or our new no. 18

  29. anonymous says:

    2 out of the 3 of Vidic, Ferdinand and Brown get injured?
    Who do Man U play at the back?
    Ummmm……Errrrrrrr…..Wait…..No……..Jaap Stam…..No…….Ummmmmm…….Sorry cant think of anything
    Great Signing by Wnger

  30. Jeoff says:

    Don’t get the “dislikable” thing about Ljungberg either- there were more hateable players in Arsenal’s team yet alone the rest of the Premiership.

    Perhaps he was too unnervingly attractive for Scott.

  31. Stephen says:

    There you go again Jeoff, what is your issue with Scott?, move on for all of us its starting to get very tedius.

  32. Jeoff says:

    Hello again Steve, don’t need to go over it again do I? It was a joke too, albeit masking an honest question.

  33. Stephen says:

    I am not quite sure what you are getting out of it thats all, but good luck to you.

  34. Jeoff says:

    Bored at work, you know how it is. Plus I like you guys- you’re interesting in a mildly horrific way.

    Back to the original question: why the Ljungberg hate then?

  35. Primachenko says:


    for a second there mate i thought you said beckham thrived arter leaving old trafford. what are you smoking in that crack pipe of yours? unless you define thriving as sunning with landon “pretty boy” donovan in cali and rubbing shoulders with that tool, alexi fucking lalas, then yes. mount everest of greatness.

  36. Scott the Red says:

    Jeoff – honestly, you’re not really this pathetic is real life are you? Christ, work? The “you’re gay” insults surely got too old whilst in primary school, no?

    I think Ljungberg is a ladyboy cunt who played for Arsenal when they actually used to stop us from winning things. Surprisingly, I don’t like him. Maybe it’s your style, but I don’t base my opinions on players based on how “attractive” they are. But let me guess, you hate Ronaldo?


  37. Gunner77 says:

    I’m a Gooner and I always thought Silvestre was a weak link for you guys.
    Can’t really say I’m happy with this signing, I’ve never seen a player move between Arsenal and Man Utd before. Brian Kidd was well before my time.
    Who knows how it will turn out, I see where Wenger is coming from. Sign some experience, someone who has won a few titles and he was pretty cheap. Who knows whether he will be first choice or just cover for others.
    It’s a shame that fans from either club can’t even have a civil conversation over this.

  38. Jeoff says:

    It was a bit of banter, not an insult. Unsurfaced a nice bit of homophobia though eh? You walked into that one.

    Ronaldo’s a great player, probably the best in the world. Nothing to hate there. The whole “attractive” thing sailed right over your little head didn’t it Scotty? Calm down son.

  39. Scott the Red says:

    Jeoff – because I don’t rate players on how attractive they are does not make me homophobic, sorry.

    Check out BBC 606. There’s plenty of your sort there. If you want to talk about football and have a proper debate, then I’m all for it, but this petty and childish talk isn’t my scene. Honestly, there are loads of WUMs on 606, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it there, but I’ve reached my limits on how bored I’ll allow one person to make me.


  40. Jeoff says:

    What does “ladyboy cunt” mean then? Please explain what this is and why it warrants disliking someone, I’m genuinely curious.

    Blissful irony in your last sentence, but then I doubt you’d grasp that either.

  41. Tom F says:

    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!

  42. Matthew Wade says:

    Decent signing for us gooners…with our slightly dodgy defence and frequent injuries, experienced cover on the cheap is fairly sensible. Mind you, there are very few quaility centre halves available on the market. Kompany would be a good buy for city, if only because him and richards would both provided breathtaking play with naive cock-ups to keep things interesting. Maybe we can do swap deal ….gary glitter for thaskin…..?

    How do you lot feel about pique as cover? is he good enough in your eyes?

  43. Mic says:

    With Evans, Brown, Vidic, Ferdinand, Rafael, Fabio, Har(d)greaves, Neville, Evra and maybe that Lens player soon, we’ve got enough people to cover many positions. Silvest was surplus for United and though not the greatest defender he’ll give Arsenal some better back up that Sanderos and those other “defenders”. Someone said Wenger can turn mediocre players into quality players, Cygan, Jeffers, Reyes, Sanderos etc… I think not!

  44. OTRed says:

    From selling club to trash heap…gotta feel sorry for the farcial ENGLISH club that is Arsenal…not good enough for Man Utd, but good enough for Arsenal, lol and they’re supposed to be a fellow big 4 club.

    @ Mic, i know the Har(d)greaves thing was meant to be a joke, but i don’t get it…*puzzled*

    @Good to be a Gooner: wtf are you talking about, Evans never played during the weekend, so how’d he get skinned by Butt???? More Ar*s in brain comments from Arsenal fans, honestly after Liverpool you guys are the most bitter rival fans, I’m not even sure how anyone from United can have an iota of respect for you guys.


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