From league title winning legends including Andy Cole and George Graham to modern day icons Alexis Sanchez and Robin Van Persie… EVERY player who has been on the books at Arsenal and Manchester United, ahead of their crucial clash at the Emirates
- Manchester United and Arsenal will go head-to-head in the league on Sunday
- The match could be a huge decider in the Premier League title race this year
- The battle for success between the two clubs has been long-standing in history
- Here, Sportsmail takes a look at every player to have featured for both teams
This weekend sees two of the Premier League’s biggest clubs go head-to-head in a potentially title-deciding encounter.
Manchester United will travel to Arsenal – who are eight points clear at the summit of the table – in search of a win as they look to leapfrog rivals Man City.
The history between the two clubs is long-standing and, here, Sportsmail takes a moment to look at every player to have featured for both of the English giants.
There have been 16 players in total who have played for both Arsenal and Manchester United
The first player to every feature for both Arsenal and Manchester United was Irish striker Paddy Sloan.
Sloan, whose real name was Joshua Walter Sloan, began his career in Ireland with local side Glenavon before later joining United as a 17-year-old in 1938.
He struggled to break into United’s first-team and was transferred to Tranmere Rovers for £500 as a 19-year-old. During the Second World War, he returned to United as a ‘guest player’.
Sloan made three wartime league appearances – scoring one goal – before securing a move to Arsenal in 1946. Tranmere had expected him to return to the club after the war, but his wartime appearances had attracted the interest of the Gunners.
He made 33 appearances for the north London side before moving to Sheffield United. He went on to have a successful career in Italy with stints at AC Milan, Torino and Udinese.
Paddy Sloan was snapped up by Arsenal after impressing in wartime appearances at United
Following Sloan, it took over a decade for another player to play for both Premier League giants – with David Herd doing so in 1961.
Herd – who’s father played for United’s rivals Manchester City – began his career with Stockport before sealing a £10,000 move to Arsenal in 1954.
In his first two seasons with the club, Herd made just eight appearances. However, in 1956, the Scottish international broke into the first-team and went on to score 18 goals in 28 games that season.
He would be Arsenal’s top goalscorer for the four seasons after that but, as the Gunners struggled for silverware, Herd secured a £35,000 move to United in 1961.
He went on to score 145 career goals in 265 appearances for United – leaving him 13th in their all-time top goalscorers list… three goals ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo!
David Herd is the 13th all-time top goalscorer in Manchester United’s club history
Scottish international Ian Ure perhaps had the most interesting journey from Arsenal to Manchester United.
The defender started his career at Dundee – where he stayed for five years – before joining the Gunners for £62,500 in 1963.
He spent six seasons with Arsenal – making 168 appearances in total – and was infamously involved in a number of clashes with United’s Denis Law.
Ironically, Law was present at Ure’s United unveiling back in 1969. The defender spent two seasons at United before returning to Scotland to play for St Mirren.
Ian Ure (second right) had an infamous clash with Denis Law (R) prior to joining Man United
The next entry is England international Jimmy Rimmer. The goalkeeper started his career in 1963 after signing with Man United as a schoolboy.
He would turn professional two years later and went on to make 34 appearances in goal for United. After nine years in the first-team, he joined Arsenal in 1974.
Rimmer became Arsenal’s first-choice shotstopper after joining and went on to win the club’s Player of The Year award in 1975.
However, after the arrival of Tottenham’s Pat Jennings, Rimmer was sold to Aston Villa where he went on to make 229 appearances for the club.
Rimmer (L), pictured with Aston Villa, made 34 appearances at Man United in his youth
It’s one thing to establish yourself as a legend through a playing career but to do so after a successful managerial run as well, is rather impressive.
Well, that was the reality for George Graham. He signed with Aston Villa on his 17th birthday before moving to Chelsea and then Arsenal in 1966.
He immediately became Arsenal’s go-to talisman, remained the club’s top goalscorer throughout 1966-1968 and was part of Arsenal’s Double-winning side of 1970–71.
He would later join Manchester United for £120,000 in 1972, but it wasn’t long after that when his playing career came to an end.
Graham would go on to become Arsenal coach for nine years and, to this day, is one of the most successful coaches in their history. He had a 49 per cent win-rate from 460 matches in charge.
George Graham was successful as both a player and a manager with the north London side
For the modern generation, Brian Kidd will be closer related to United’s rivals Man City than the Red Devils themselves.
Kidd has served as Manuel Pellegrini’s assistant, after his arrival at City, and stayed to help Pep Guardiola up until the end of the 2020-21 season.
Prior to his role at City, Kidd has a successful playing career which he first forged at United. He came through their academy and went on to score 52 times for the club.
After United were relegated to the Football League’s Second Division, Kidd was transferred to Arsenal for £110,000 – where he made 77 appearances.
His time at Highbury was short-lived as, two years later, he secured a move to City.
Brian Kidd pictured with the 1968 European Cup trophy which he won with Man United
Former Ireland international Frank Stapleton began his playing career at Arsenal after being rejected by Man United in his beginnings.
The forward boasted a prolific record for the Gunners and was their top goalscorer from 1977-1980. In total, he scored 108 goals in 300 appearances for Arsenal.
In 1981, his stint in north London came to an end as United forked out £900,00 for the centre-forward – as they looked to build a silverware-challenging side.
In the two seasons that followed, United won consecutive FA Cup trophies and had looked to be challenging for a league title. Stapleton was later sold to Ajax.
Frank Stapleton helped spark a period of success after joining Man United in 1981
Up next, we have a slightly dubious entry. David Platt made 88 appearances for Arsenal between 1995-1998 and did have a spell at Man United but failed to make a senior appearance.
The midfielder signed for United as an apprentice in 1982 and secured a professional contract two years later but was sold soon afterwards.
He moved to Crewe Alexandra in the Fourth Division before eventually working his way up to the Gunners in 1995 following a short-stint in Italy.
Platt was signed from Sampdoria for £4.75 million and made 88 appearances for Arsenal – winning one Premier League and an FA Cup during that time.
David Platt (R) failed to make an appearance for Man United but featured regularly at Arsenal
Viv Anderson is, most likely, better known for his stint at Nottingham Forest as opposed to his time at Arsenal or Man United.
The forward made 328 appearances for Forest before earning a £250,000 move to Arsenal in 1984. He went on to make 120 appearances for the Gunners.
The club had expected Anderson to sign a new deal in 1987 but the full-back opted to agree a contract with Man United and the two clubs quickly struck a deal.
He became the first signing of United’s iconic coach Sir Alex Ferguson and was a vital part of the rebuilding the Scotsman did in the early years at Old Trafford.
Viv Anderson played for both United and Arsenal but was most prolific with Nottingham Forest
Another dubious entry. Scotland international Jim Leighton did technically play for Arsenal and Man United – however he didn’t manage to make an appearance for both sides.
The goalkeeper began his career at Aberdeen before moving to United in 1988. He went on to make 73 appearances for the Red Devils.
He had a brief spell on loan with Arsenal during the 1990-1991 season but failed to make an appearance for the Gunners.
Scottish international Jim Leighton failed to make a senior appearance for Arsenal
This one might come as a surprise to many. Andy Cole’s success at United throughout the late 90s was well documented, as he scored 93 in 195 appearances.
And after stints at Newcastle, Blackburn and Man City, Cole sits fourth in the Premier League’s all-time top goalscorers list.
However, not many will be able to recall his brief spell with the Gunners. Cole began his youth career with Arsenal and made one league appearance for them in 1990.
He failed to score on the day and shortly after was sold to Bristol City for £500,000.
Andy Cole is fourth in the Premier League’s all-time top goalscorers charts
For many, defender Mikael Silvestre will be the first name that springs to mine when thinking about players to have played for both clubs.
The Frenchman was a mainstay in United’s defence from 1999-2008 and won four Premier Leagues, a Champions League and an FA Cup with the Red Devils.
After being deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, Silvestre embarked on a transfer to Arsenal in 2008.
He played his first game for the Gunners against his former side, United, and helped them secure a 2-1 win on the night.
French defender Mikael Silvestre (R) was an integral part to United’s side in the 2000s
ROBIN VAN PERSIE
Robin van Persie. Perhaps the only player on this list who’s move caused serious conflict for either Arsenal or Man United.
The Dutchman had been a prolific talisman up-front for Arsene Wenger’s Gunners and notched 132 goals in all competitions for the side.
However, his performances at the Emirates drew attention from Arsenal’s league rivals and it didn’t take long for the forward to be snapped up by United.
He ended up netting 58 goals in just three seasons at Old Trafford and won the Premier League once with Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
Robin van Persie broke Arsenal hearts after signing with Manchester United in 2012
The only active player on this list. Danny Welbeck forged his career at United before securing a move to Arsenal in 2014.
Welbeck was scouted by United when he was just six-years-old and, two years later, was signed up to United’s academy.
After seven years in United’s first-team, Welbeck was sold to the Gunners for £16 million.
He scored a number of crucial goals during his time at the Emirates, including a late winner against Leicester – who were the Premier League champions that year.
Danny Welbeck made 88 appearances for Arsenal after making the move from Manchester
Alexis Sanchez secured a switch from Arsenal to Manchester United as part of a swap deal with himself and midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The Chilean forward had been sensational in his four years with the Gunners and quickly became one of the hottest properties in Premier League football.
It didn’t take long for Man United to register their interest and throw uncertainty into Sanchez’s future at the Emirates.
Eventually, a move was sanctioned but Sanchez failed to emulate his performances from the Emirates at Old Trafford. He scored just five goals before leaving in 2020.
Chilean star Alexis Sanchez struggled to hit the heights at United that he reached with Arsenal
As mentioned just above, Henrikh Mkhitaryan played for both Arsenal and Man United after being swapped for Alexis Sanchez in 2018.
The Armenian winger had been a revelation in Germany with Borussia Dortmund but struggled to have the same success at United – for that reason, they looked to trade him.
The winger was used as part of a deal for Sanchez and was relocated from Manchester to London.
He made just 59 appearances in three years with the Gunners, managing to score nine goals before eventually moving to Italian side Roma.
Armenian winger Henrikh Mkhitaryan is the most recent player to play for both teams
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