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EXCLUSIVE: Sir Alex Ferguson Let Mikael Silvestre Join Manchester City, Wasn't Happy About Arsenal Move

Josh Lawless

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EXCLUSIVE: Sir Alex Ferguson Let Mikael Silvestre Join Manchester City, Wasn't Happy About Arsenal Move

Featured Image Credit: Image: PA

Mikael Silvestre got the seal of approval from Sir Alex Ferguson to move from Manchester United to Manchester City.

But the Scotsman was not happy when the transfer collapsed at the last minute as Silvestre's head was turned by Arsene Wenger and Arsenal.

Silvestre played 361 times for United, winning four Premier League titles and one Champions League.

Image: PA
Image: PA

With Patrice Evra firmly first-choice at left-back and Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand forming a formidable partnership in central defence, Silvestre was allowed to leave Old Trafford in the summer of 2008.

Everything was in place for him to join the blue half of Manchester but Wenger convinced him to join him at Arsenal - much to Fergie's frustration.

Image: PA
Image: PA

“As close as I was in the middle of the medical," Silvestre told SPORTbible, in association with MyBettingSites, when asked how close he was to playing for both Manchester clubs.

"I got Arsene [Wenger] on the phone and so I made a u-turn and had the blessing from Mark Hughes – he made it easier for me to make the switch. 

“I took the train to London to join the French contingent but it [moving to City] could have happened. 

“Remember at that time City was just starting with the new ownership and joining Arsenal made more sense. 

“He was okay for me to join City but he wasn’t happy about Arsenal! He didn’t make any opposition, he was alright. 

“Sir Alex was like, ‘Don’t go to the rivals, no mercy until the end!’” 

Of course, that wasn't the only time Silvestre felt Fergie's wrath. Given he was there between 1999 and 2008, it was inevitable that at some point he would encounter the infamous 'hairdryer'.

The verbal lashings, which he believes he had on two occasions, were firm but fair according to the Frenchman but Silvestre says standing there and taking it was the best way to respond to Ferguson.

He added: “For sure, everyone has at some point because you can’t go on for seasons over the nine years without this treatment. 

“The good thing was he was treating everyone the same. You just want to hide somewhere in the corner and not be seen when he starts undressing you in front of everyone. 

“I can remember two times for sure, at least! It was him not being happy with the performance and also two particular incidents being a defender – a mistake leading to a goal. 

“You would get that – especially if he knew you could do better. 

“You’re not going to win it, you just sit there, take it and move on. We’ve had players trying to take on the manager and you can if you think it’s not fair but in my case it was obvious. 

“I had to agree, he was right. In the moment it could feel very strong and harsh but in a few days or even the next day, he would talk to you and that’s it. Not best friend but that’s why people say it’s like father and son. 

“When you have a go at your kids, it’s not gonna last for long.” 

Ferguson is widely seen as the greatest manager in the history of English football but perhaps surprisingly, he wasn't particularly hands on when it came to the training pitch.

Image: PA
Image: PA

According to Silvestre, often he would be away from the Carrington turf to attend to other managerial-related business unless a crunch clash was looming.

“The first-team coach and assistant would take sessions," Silvestre revealed.

"When it was a derby or big games he would be on the field and on the pitch looking at training, talking to players. 

“Sometimes he could be away from work for two to three days that week but for those games he would make sure he was there for the preparation. 

“It’s a different style of coaching. Arsene [Wenger], Jose [Mourinho] and Gerard Houllier - these guys who came a long time ago in the Premier League - the way they coach is that they take on the sessions from A-Z with the help of the assistant. 

“Whereas the English managers, they watch from a distance and they come sometimes to intervene otherwise a first-team coach would run the sessions.” 

Topics: Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Sir Alex Ferguson

Josh Lawless
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