By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger has explained the surprise signing of Mikael Silvestre.

The Arsenal manager believes the 31-year-old will add quality and experience to his defence. And few would doubt that. The issue is why Manchester United would allow such a player move to a direct title rival.

“They let him go and we took him,” Wenger explained."I felt Manchester United had made up their mind to let him go before we were interested, to maybe Manchester City or to France, so it was not necessarily us going in there and buying a player.

"Mikael can play centre back, he can also play left back and that is an area where we were a bit inexperienced. He has a great team attitude and he can help us in the dressing room as well with his maturity."

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 22 Aug 2008