Brazilian Gilberto Silva may have been an enforcer for Arsenal in his heyday but the former midfielder recently played a pivotal role in facilitating compatriot Fred’s transfer to the Gunners’ arch-rivals, Manchester United.
Fred was the marquee signing of the summer for Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils as he arrived at Old Trafford for a reported fee of £57 million.
“Gilberto was a top midfielder who played for Arsenal, Fred told the club website, as he added, “But he has a lot of respect for Manchester United, who are obviously a big club here in England.”
The 41-year-old Silva spent six seasons in North London and was a part of their famed Invincibles squad that went the entire 2003-04 campaign unbeaten.
During his time with the Gunners, the World Cup winner was at the centre of some fiery clashes between two sides vying for Premier League supremacy.
“He praised the club a lot and, after he was granted the opportunity to speak to Jose Mourinho and other senior figures at United, we made the decision together for me to come here. We decided it would be a good move for me.”
Having played two Premier League games so far, the jury is still out on Fred.
While he does have an excellent touch and an eye for the exquisite pass, he’s also prone to rash tackles and has lost possession to disastrous effect.
“Gilberto is a top guy and his advice means a lot to me. He played in the same position as I do and he won the Premier League, so I look to him for inspiration, I listen to what he has to say and I take on board what he tells me,” the former Shaktar Donetsk man added.
The Brazilian’s display against Brighton & Hove Albion was quite poor, but the South American can take solace from the fact that he wasn’t worse off than most of his teammates as the Red Devils slumped to a shock 3-2 loss.
United seem to be on the verge of a crisis and they face their biggest clash of the season when they host a confident Tottenham Hotspur side at Old Trafford on Monday night.
To further complicate matters, star midfielder Paul Pogba appears to be unsettled and his agent’s outburst on Twitter has sent the rumour mills into overdrive.