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Top 10 players to play for both Manchester United and Arsenal

Published at :September 1, 2022 at 9:27 PM
Modified at :September 1, 2022 at 9:27 PM
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The two clubs have had many historic battles over the years.

Manchester United vs Arsenal is one of the biggest rivalries in English football. The rivalry was at fiery back in the late 90s and early 2000s. Both clubs were at the top of English football during that era. In the past few years, their animosity has mellowed down a bit with both teams struggling on the pitch. However Arsenal vs Manchester United is still one of the few fixtures Premier League faithful wait for.

Despite their rivalry, several players have represented both clubs over the years. Here is a look at the top 10 players that have played for both Arsenal and Manchester United.

10. Danny Welbeck

Danny Welbeck came through the ranks at Manchester United and made his senior debut for the club in 2008. The forward won the Premier League with Manchester United but didn’t get enough game time. Competing against the likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie for the striker’s position, Welbeck fell down the pecking order. Welbeck scored 20 goals in 92 league appearances for Manchester United before moving to Arsenal in 2014. His time at Arsenal was mostly injury-ridden as he went on to make 88 league appearances for the Gunners, scoring 16 goals during his five-year stay.

9. Henrikh Mkhitariyan

Henrikh Mkhitariyan
Mkhitariyan won the League Cup and Europa League with Manchester United  (Courtesy: Manchester United)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan became the first Armenian to play in the Premier League when he joined Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund in 2016. He went on to win the League Cup and Europa League with the Red Devils. However, he wasn’t as effective as was expected of him and in 2018, he moved to Arsenal in a swap deal with Alexis Sanchez moving to Old Trafford.  Mkhitaryan’s stay at Arsenal wasn’t much of a success either. The Armenian made 39 league appearances and scored nine times. He was loaned out to Roma in 2019 which turned into a permanent signing in 2020.

8. Vivian Alexander Anderson

Vivian Anderson is famous for being the first black player to play for the senior men’s England national football team. The defender signed for Arsenal from Nottingham Forest. He went on to make 150 appearances for the Gunners and won the League Cup with them. In 1987, Vivian became Sir Alex Ferguson’s first signing for Manchester United, making 64 appearances for the Red Devils.

7. Frank Stapleton

Frank Stapleton started off as an apprentice for Arsenal before making his first team debut in 1975. He was one of the Gunners’ star players during that time, leading them to three FA Cup finals. The Irishman was one of the scorers in Arsenal’s win over Manchester United in the 1979 FA Cup final. He made 300 appearances for the Gunners and scored 108 goals. Stapleton signed for Manchester United in 1981 and went on to make 288 appearances for the Red Devils as well. He scored 78 goals and won two FA Cups during his stint with Manchester United. He's one of the few players to have brilliant spells at both clubs.

6. Mikael Silvestre

Mikael Silvestre joined Manchester United from Inter Milan in 1999. The Frenchman had a glorious career with the Red Devils, going on to win five Premier League titles. The defender also won a Champions League title in his last year with Manchester United. In his nine years at Old Trafford, Silvestre made 249 league appearances. In 2008, the French International signed for Arsenal. However, his stint with the Gunners didn’t last long as he moved to Werder Bremen two years later.

5. Alexis Sanchez

Sanchez joined Arsenal from Barcelona in 2014 for €35m (Courtesy: Arsenal)

Alexis Sanchez joined Arsenal from Barcelona in 2014 for a fee of €35m. The Chilean was an instant success with the Gunners, winning the PFA Fans’ Player of The Year in his first season. Sanchez made 122 league appearances for Arsenal and won two FA Cups. The forward then moved to Manchester United in a swap deal in 2018. He was given the famous number 7 jersey at Manchester United. However, this transfer proved to be a failure and Sanchez moved on to Inter Milan in the very next year.

4. George Graham

George Graham spent the majority of his career at Arsenal. The forward joined the London club in 1966 from Chelsea and went on to make 308 appearances for the Gunners. During that time, Graham scored 77 times and won the League and Cup double in 1971. The Scotsman moved to Manchester United in 1972 and stayed there for just two years, making 46 appearances.

3. Brian Kidd

Briann Kidd saw the very best and the very worst during his stint with Manchester United. He scored a goal in Manchester United’s European Cup final win against Benfica in 1968. Later, Kidd was also part of the United team that got relegated in 1974. The forward made 264 appearances for the Red Devils and scored 70 goals. Following Manchester United's relegation, Kidd signed for Arsenal and was their top scorer in the first season. The English international went on to make 90 appearances for the Gunners and scored 34 goals.

2. Andy Cole

Cole started his professional career with Arsenal. However, he failed to make an impact with the Gunners, making only one league appearance before being loaned out. On the contrary, his Manchester United career was quite the opposite. Cole signed for United in 1995 from Newcastle United. The forward went on to win eight major trophies with the Red Devils, including the historic treble in 1999. The forward made 195 league appearances for Manchester United and scored 93 goals.

1. Robin Van Persie

Robin Van Persie
Robin Van Persie led United to their 20th league title (Courtesy: Premier League)

Inarguably, this has to be the most controversial transfer on this list. Robin Van Persie was the captain of Arsenal when he decided to switch sides and sign for Manchester United. Van Persie joined Arsenal from Feyenoord in 2004 and spent eight years with the Gunners. The Dutchman made 194 league appearances for Arsenal and scored 96 goals. In 2012, Van Persie signed for Manchester United in search of Premier League success and wasn’t disappointed. The forward led United to their 20th league title in his very first season. Van Persie also won the Golden Boot. The Dutch striker made 86 league appearances for the Red Devils and scored 48 goals.