Wait, What?By: Abby | August 20th, 2008
And the first player to transfer from Manchester United to Arsenal in 34 years is…Mikaël Silvestre.
Who on Earth saw that coming? We do make our transfers quiet, I’ll give you that.
He’s not our normal style of signing. He’s 31. He’s a defender. He’s French. (Okay, that one negates the other ones.) He’s also pretty much a Manchester United reject- it was believed he was about to head off to Manchester City’s rotating crazy. I’ve already read a lot of complaining about his signing, but I’m not displeased.
Mostly, because I did spend last season worrying about what we have as a backup to Gaël Clichy. We’ve been lucky in that for the past two seasons he’s been constant and constantly energetic, but his Arsenal career before that was positively van-Persiean in its level of injury. Our run up to the Champions Final in 2006 employed Mathieu Flamini, Sebastian Larsson, Kerrea Gilbert, and some guy from the first row of seats as left-back when both Gaël and Ashley Cole were injured. There was no guarantee that he’d be stable when he first became a starter, and we’ve been very fortunate in that he has been. His back-ups as it stands have been a very young Armand Traore, who is calling out to be made into a left-winger, and William Gallas, who’s needed in other parts of the field (and famously doesn’t much like playing on the left).
Like Gallas, Silvestre can also play in the center and provide experience in our defense. It’s a young team, and someone with a bit more time on the pitch can’t go amiss. Gallas is very experienced, but as we’ve seen, he can occasionally lose his head. Another older player is definitely helpful. Djourou is promising but raw, Senderos prone to errors and lack of confidence. Another older head around to settle them is worth having. Especially since at the moment Kolo is still injured, and possibly still recovering from his bout with malaria earlier.
Besides, it’s not like we broke the bank with him- he was only £750,000. I’m not sure he’ll start much- I’m hoping he won’t, personally- but for a hopefully-solid backup, that’s just fine.
I do hope we end up signing another midfielder as well. I think this one was a bonus signing, rather than the one that Wenger promised- it’s just that Silvestre was available, for the right price, and the sort of defensive option we needed. We discussed signing Lilian Thuram at one point, too- clearly he’d been thinking about maybe getting some experienced defensive cover around, perhaps.
Why not take a chance?