Date:Thursday August 21 2008
Yesterday being my birthday, I was out all day with friends and family. Returning home at the evening, I checked the news - and was shocked, totally.
Mikael Silvestre, out of the blue, joins Arsenal. I checked the date but I knew full well it was not April 1 but August 20. Therefore I was forced to accept that we indeed sold Silvestre to Arsenal.
I mean, his departure has been in the air for a while now and the fact that we sold him is no major surprise but selling to Arsenal, a rival? Is it a wise move?
I don't blame Silvestre though. He gave nine years of loyal service and if he felt that first-team chances were better at Arsenal then so be it. With Evra, Vidic and Ferdinand comfortably ahead of him, he could only have been cover.
However, he could have been really useful as a squad player and that's why I feel it's a mistake to sell him at all: we just do not have enough cover in defence, now that Pique and Silvestre have gone. Fabio is way too young yet and we can only hope that Evans can repeat his Sunderland performances when called up.
Of course, there's every chance that Silvestre discussed his options with Sir Alex and indicated that being a squad player who rarely gets a look-in does not suit him any more. We can't blame him: he's 30 years old, if he gets more opportunities at another Champions League club then he must seize it.
Had he gone to Liverpool it would have been treachery (and Fergie wouldn't have allowed it anyway) but Arsenal as rivals were only foisted upon us by Wenger and the intensity of the rivalry lessened in recent years with the Gunners' demise.
'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,' Sir Alex said. Wenger, of course, hurried to explain this somewhat strange signing and what he said is quite sensible - for a change.
'We have a strong squad but a young squad and Mikael's versatility, experience and calibre will provide the extra depth we need to reinforce our challenge for honours this season.
'His defensive adaptability will serve us well and it's a big plus that Mikael has top-level experience and a great understanding of football in the Premier League.'
Well, good luck, Mikael. Hopefully you won't play at Old Trafford but if you will, then a couple of own goals would be nice.
Date:Thursday August 21 2008
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