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Sil-ly Season

Sil-ly Season

Nothing surprises me in football, even in my relatively young life I have seen the most bizarre things imaginable. I have a tee shirt at home that bears testament with the legend, 'I was there when Jensen scored.' Nothing surprises me......and then Arsenal signed Mikael Silvestre. Well blowme down with a feather, hands up who saw that coming. I know Arsene likes to spring a surprise but this really knocked me for six when Iogged onto the interweb this morning. Now the signing is confirmed on the official site and we've all had a few hours to get our heads around this, I thought no lengthy dissertation is really necessary, just a simple presentation of the pros and cons.

Silvestre is experienced to the tune of 249 Premiership appearances, 40 international caps for France (in the era of Thuram, Desailly and Gallas), four Premiership titles, a Champions League winners medal, an FA Cup and a League Cup.

At 31 he adds experience to a young squad at a cheap price and fills a short term gap as cover for Clichy whilst Traore and Gibbs are able to spend a year on loan or try to play in their more natural left wing position.

This April he played in a Champions League Quarter Final, so he can be trusted to come in and do a job in big games.

His departure weakens United. With Neville permanently injured and the da Silva twins boasting 16 minutes of Premiership experience between them, United's defensive cover looks, well, it looks a bit like John O'Shea. A big injury at the back could see United regret this.

His time at United seems to suggest that he's not a particularly curmudgeonly little so and so. In his time at United, he generally kept his mouth shut and his head down.

He has a great deal to offer our youngsters, until eighteen months ago he had been an established member of United's starting line up. He will require no adaption time and has already played with Gallas. As a cerebral member of our squad this is a low risk and sensible acquisition.

If Ferguson deems him surplus to requirements, why should he be good enough for Arsenal? Indeed, Ferguson obviously doesn't believe he has strengthened us that much or else he would not have sanctioned the signing.

If Robert Pires was considered too old for a two year contract, why has Mikael Silvestre earned one?

Only a year ago, Silvestre suffered a cruciate ligament injury. At 31 how can we be sure he is anything like the player he was? Our medical staff have hardly covered themselves in glory over the last two years and their medical examination of Rosicky can't have involved much more than a cursory kick of the tyres.

It hardly suggests confidence in Traore, Senderos and Djourou. And a 31 year old United reject doesn't quite scream ambition from the rooftops.

Surely our need is for an aerially dominant hulk of a defender to play alongside Gallas or Toure? Silvestre doesn't seem to fit the mould for what we need. Gallas is a fine back up left back.

Gallas, Diarra, Silvestre, is it me or are we signing a lot of French players with weird shaped heads? I mean, that lot could pass themselves off as the cast of that Dan Akroyd film Coneheads.

My view is that I'm not as angered as others are, Silvestre is a low cost, low risk gamble who offers cover and experience across the whole backline. But my issue is not with Arsenal's ambition or anything of that ilk (though I mean it when I say I'm concerned about the Pinky and the Brain style heads), but I'm not entirely sure he's what we really require. It's not what he is, but what he isn't that troubles me. But like I said, it's hardly the signing that's going to send us all to hell in a little rowboat. If Clichy pulls a hamstring next week, this is a smart purchase.LD.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Wednesday August 20 2008
Time: 9:20PM


Anyone remember Mario Kart? Silvestre is the spitting image of Toad!
Little Dutch
20/08/2008 21:22:00
I don't remember him LD and that is more because of the news. My brain is still trying to figure out how AW thinks. I hope the season proves me wrong but he is not what we need to be frank....I'm so sad :(..please cheer me up Le Boss and sign a DM..pleasseeeeeeee :(
20/08/2008 21:38:00
Henry also has a big melon head. :-) I can deal with this as long as we're still getting a midfielder. I see the pros of this signing, despite the worries about his injury record. Still, it's such a crazy signing. 31 yrs old! A manc who used to diss Arsenal and headbutted Freddie! What a crazy unpredictable manager we have. I've been in shock all day. Now I'm just...well...still shocked!
20/08/2008 21:39:00
There were times post 2002 when I could have headbutted Ljungberg. The most over rated Arsenal player of modern times. But that's another story. I don't think this is a signing to be sad about, but it's not one to be happy about. Did anyone ever see that Simpsons episode when Homer says to Marge at the end, "I don't know if this is a happy ending or a sad ending." And Marge says, "it's an ending, that's enough." Kind of how I feel about this, it's a signing, that's pretty much all I can say right now!
Little Dutch
20/08/2008 21:42:00
With his recent injury record this is a huge gamble. It seems Wenger has developed a taste for the wager, what with Bischoff's surprise purchase. The truth is we are bargain hunting because its what we can afford at the present time. If we had the moolah to buy someone like Richards from City we would have done it by now. Clearly were skint.
Wyn Mills
20/08/2008 21:44:00
Yeah Jaelle I was gonna say - doesn't Thierry have a big brain at the back of his head too? He's just got a prettier face than the other guys... And I'm also with you - as long as we're getting the DM that we desperately need, I don't mind who these backup signings are cos the boss has enough trust to bring them in.
Lou the Gunneress
20/08/2008 21:45:00
am completely baffled by this one!
20/08/2008 21:48:00
Why would SAF offload a player on the Gooners the football world asks? Is he crocked or has he no respect for your chances in the league?
20/08/2008 21:48:00
Hey, would the reason for Arsene's bargain-hunting be that he's saving his budget for a relatively big signing to come? (I'm an optimist..)
Lou the Gunneress
20/08/2008 21:53:00
Word on the vitalfootball streets is that the arsenal medical test, requires playing a match of Pro Evolution Soccer and table football with the doctors.
20/08/2008 21:56:00
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