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Five players who transferred between Arsenal and Manchester United

Transfers between Arsenal and Manchester United, in whatever direction, are few and far between. Danny Welbeck’s £16m switch to the Gunners from Old Trafford is something special, then.

Arsenal and United tend to see each other as rivals, and no wonder as they have won all but six English top-flight titles since the formation of the Premier League in 1992.

In light of Welbeck’s move, Coral writers look at five of his predecessors in making a rare switch between the Gunners and Red Devils.

Robin van Persie
For an initial outlay of £22.5m, United swooped for this lethal and Flying Dutchman in the summer of 2012. Van Persie was then captain of Arsenal and won the Premier League Golden Boot after netting 30 times in 2011/12. He would then reap this individual accolade again at Old Trafford with a more modest 26, but that was more than enough to fire Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to the 2012/13 title.

Mikael Silvestre
This French left-footed defender was the last player, prior to Welbeck, to move from United to the Gunners. During nine years at Old Trafford (1999-2008), Silvestre racked up one shy of 250 league games, and won eight major honours, including the Champions League. When he resolved to leave the Red Devils, bridges would be burned no matter what as Silvestre almost signed for Manchester City, but instead chose to throw his lot in with compatriot Arsene Wenger.

Frank Stapleton
Republic of Ireland forward Stapleton has the rare distinction of winning the FA Cup with both clubs, and becoming the first player to score in the final for two different teams. Such was the enmity between Arsenal and United at the time that a Football League tribunal had to set his transfer fee in 1981 of £900k.

Brian Kidd
Manchester native Kidd scored for the Red Devils in their famous 1968 European Cup final win over Eusebio’s Benfica, but six years later United were relegated. The Gunners came calling and got their man for £110k. Kidd would later return to his hometown, but with City in 1976. He then assisted Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford and currently does the same for Manuel Pellegrini at the Etihad, having served Roberto Mancini as well.

George Graham
Speaking of crossing divides, this Scotsman couldn’t help himself. First Graham moved to Arsenal from fellow capital club Chelsea before a subsequent transfer to United in 1972. He went on to manage the Gunners, winning six major honours, and then United’s bitterest rivals Leeds United and Arsenal’s north London neighbours Spurs.