Arsenal FC have signed French international defender Mikaël Silvestre, 31, from Premier League arch-rivals Manchester United FC for an undisclosed transfer fee.
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The 40-cap international has agreed a two-year contract with the north London club, who lead 2-0 following the away leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie against FC Twente. "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," said Silvestre, who is the first player to be sold to Arsenal by United since Brian Kidd in 1974.
The former Stade Rennais FC and FC Internazionale Milano player joined United at the start of the 1999/2000 season, going on to make 249 league appearances for Sir Alex Ferguson's side, scoring six goals. At Old Trafford, the new Arsenal No18 claimed four Premier League titles, an FA Cup and a League Cup, and was also an unused substitute in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League final when United beat Chelsea FC on penalties.
"Arsenal are known for playing technical and skilful football, and have a young but experienced squad," said Silvestre. "I'm really excited about this next stage of my career, hopefully playing my part in helping the club to new successes." Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger added: "We have a strong squad but a young squad and Mikaël's versatility, experience and calibre will provide the extra depth we need to reinforce our challenge for honours this season."