Over the last couple of years, the Arsenal have seemed quite to the class clown when it comes to the dealings of their transfer activities – even though they get linked with literally almost every player available in the transfer market, and this concluded transfer window wasn’t different than the previous summer transfer window.
In the year 2008, Wenger and Arsenal made one of the bizarre transfers I’ve witnessed thus far; signing Mikaël Silvestre from Manchester United who was well past his peak at the age of 31 years, signed for a fee of £755k. Keep in mind; this is the same Wenger we all used to know to bid cheap for players before he really started breaking transfer fee records for the club.
His transfer to the Gunners was a semi-rollercoaster ride that had things change so quickly for the Frenchman. He received an offer to join Manchester City from then manager Mark Hughes, and was set to join them; however, during the medical examination with Manchester City, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger called to offer Silvestre a transfer to the club.
Particularly because of the strong French presence then at Arsenal, I feel made Silvestre transfer to the Arsenal, amidst the local rivalry between Manchester United and Manchester City, and the fact that Manchester City was not the force they are now in English football, Silvestre opted to join the London club.
Signed on a two-year contract, this transfer was the first out of two times Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger would see a player leave one camp and come to the other. The second player to ever make such move under these two men was Robin Van Persie, and we know how that went; winning the league for Manchester United and finishing the league campaign as the highest goal scorer in the league for his debut season for his new club.
Mikaël Silvestre was given the number 18 jersey, previously worn by fellow Frenchman Pascal Cygan and made his debut against Everton – in a 3-1 victory for the Gunners, making his 250th English football match on this day.
During his time at United Mikaël Silvestre was known to be a calamity player and it seemed he brought this part of his of his game with him. On his Champions League debut for the Gunners, Mikaël Silvestre was unfortunate to score an own goal against Fernabache in a 5-2 victory for the Gunners. His first of three league goals for the Gunners would come against local rivals Tottenham that ended in a 3-3 draw. What a way it is to announce yourself to the Arsenal supporters.