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New signing Silvestre boosts title challenge says Wenger

PUBLISHED: 11:28 21 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:19 07 September 2010

Arsene Wenger believes new signing Mikael Silvestre s experience will give Arsenal the extra depth needed to challenge for the title, writes Jem Maidment. The Gunners manager went against normal club policy of not buying players in their 30s to sign the Manchester United defend

Arsene Wenger believes new signing Mikael Silvestre's experience will give Arsenal the "extra depth" needed challenge for the title The Gunners manager went against normal club policy of not buying players in their 30s to sign the Manchester United defender on a two-year deal late on Wednesday evening.

It was a move borne out of necessity with so many inexperienced players in his youthful squad, said Wenger.

"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," said Wenger after securing the defender, who moved to Old Trafford from Internazionale in 1999.

"His defensive adaptability will serve us well - it's a big plus that Mikael has top-level experience and a great understanding of football in the Premier League."

The last major transfer deal between the two clubs was 21 years ago when another experienced defender, England fullback Viv Anderson, became one of Alex Ferguson's first signings for United.

Silvestre rejected a last-ditch bid from Manchester City to move to north London. Last season he found his opportunities for first team football limited due to the emergence of Patrice Evra.

"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 the France defender, who won four Premier League titles at Old Trafford.

"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.


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