Reading United blogs and forums, the general consensus from our fans is that it’s rather amusing that Arsenal have taken Mikael Silvestre off our hands. No doubt a total professional and someone who shied away from the limelight, he’s always been one of the worst players in our team (which isn’t necessarily a huge criticism when looking at who his team mates have been!).
Whilst much more competent as a full-back, due to his ability to attack, he is a disaster waiting to happen in the centre of defence.
Sir Alex Ferguson has today said that he has no problems with Silvestre moving to Arsenal, explaining he understands a player’s need for first team football. So, does this mean a player who didn’t even make the bench at United is set to become a regular starter at Arsenal?
“Mikael Silvestre came to see me at the end of the season and said he wanted first team football. I agreed with him,” said Ferguson. “He was conducting his own affairs. We knew the price we wanted and notified the clubs who were showing interest. Mainly it was Sunderland. He went there last Friday to discuss a move and he came back and was very positive about that. Then Man City came on the scene. He was having a medical there and halfway through it he got a phone call to go to London and he ended up at Arsenal. We have no complaints. We wish him well. You could have been selfish and say you are going to be a reserve. But we are bigger than that. We recognised the service and let him get on with a career playing first team football.”
Ferguson had enough respect for Silvestre to allow him a move to his desired club for first team action. Obviously a club playing Champions League football will be more appealing than the likes of City and Sunderland. However, Ferguson didn’t win 10 league titles by underestimating his rivals, indicating he knows more about Silvestre’s capabilities than maybe he’d like Arsenal to know. There’s no way Fergie would sell a player to a supposed title rival if he believed that player could have much of a positive effect on them.
Silvestre himself confirmed that he signed for Arsenal so that he could become a starting player.
“It was a big surprise, but a very good surprise in the end,” Silvestre said after signing. “I left United especially because I didn’t want to spend anymore time on the bench.”
I’d be concerned for a couple of reasons if I was an Arsenal fan.
1. If Manchester City and Sunderland are the teams fighting it out with you to sign a player, you might want to worry about the quality of that player.
2. By all accounts, it looks as though Silvestre hasn’t been bought as back up, rather someone Wenger expects to start. If Silvestre is leaving Untied for first team football, Arsene Wenger must have given him guarantees of that.
3. If Fergie thinks he’s not good enough for United’s team, he shouldn’t be good enough for Arsenal.
Good luck, Silly!