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Silvestre leaves Man United for Arsenal

August 21, 2008 11:29 IST

Arsenal [Images] have signed France [Images] defender Mikael Silvestre from Manchester United [Images], the London [Images] Premier League club said on Wednesday.

Silvestre became the first player to move from United to Arsenal in more than 30 years when he agreed a two-year contract with the London club for an undisclosed fee.

The 31-year-old, whose contract at Old Trafford was due to expire next year, had attracted strong interest from Manchester City according to British media reports, but could not resist the twin lures of working under compatriot Arsene Wenger and playing Champions League football.

"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," Silvestre was quoted as saying on Arsenal's website.

"Arsenal is known for playing technical and skilful football and has a young but experienced squad. I'm really excited about this next stage of my career, hopefully playing my part in helping the club to new successes."

Silvestre, who joined United from Inter Milan in 1999, won four Premier League titles with Manchester United but missed much of last season with a knee injury and was unlikely to get many games this season.

Transfers between the two clubs are rare. Brian Kidd in 1974 was the last player to make the move. Viv Anderson was the last man to move in the opposite direction when he left Highbury for Old Trafford in 1987.

Silvestre was a non-playing member of the victorious United squad at May's Champions League final in Moscow [Images].

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