Nemanja Vidic admitted Mikael Silvestre has stunned all his old Manchester United team-mates by signing for Premier League rivals Arsenal.
After looking close to joining Sunderland and Manchester City, Silvestre eventually jumped at the chance of playing under Arsene Wenger, ending a nine-year association with the Old Trafford outfit yesterday by signing a two-year contract for a £750,000 transfer fee.
It is the first direct transfer between the two clubs since 1987, when Viv Anderson moved north to become one of Sir Alex Ferguson's first recruits as United boss, and Vidic can still scarcely believe it.
'It surprised me. In fact I think it has come as a surprise to everyone,' he said.
'It is not often a player leaves one big club to go to another like Arsenal or Liverpool. It does not tend to happen.
'But Mikael did not play much last year and I think he just wanted to go somewhere where he would, so in that sense I am happy for him.'
Vidic has grown close to the former France international during his own two-and-a-half year stint.
And, while it was obvious Silvestre's first-team chances at United were strictly limited, Vidic believes the 31-year-old is still a class act.
'He has been here a long time and he still deserves to play at the highest level,' said the Serbian.
'Mikael has given so much to this club. I am just surprised he is going to Arsenal. But he has made the choice.'
Vidic can look forward to pitting his wits against Silvestre later in the season.