3. Nicolas Anelka
Arsenal – 1997-1999 (90 apps)
Man City – 2002-05 (103 apps)
Nicolas Anelka’s record at Arsenal was undeniably outstanding. He signed for the Gunners in February 1997 at age 17 for £500,000 and became an instant success. His pace and calmness in front of goal were remarkable, and in 1998/99, he scored 17 league goals, finishing as the top scorer, and won the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
He made 90 appearances and scored 28 goals for Arsenal but left in 1999 and signed for Real Madrid for £22.3 million. After spells with PSG and Liverpool, he signed for City during Kevin Keegan’s tenure and was a class apart for much of his time there, scoring 45 goals in three seasons for the Blues.
2. David Seaman
Arsenal – 1990-2003 (464 apps)
Man City – 2003-04 (26 apps)
Arsenal’s legend David Seaman spent 13 years at the club. He won three league titles, four FA Cups, a League Cup, a Cup Winners’ Cup and a UEFA Cup. It was a glittering period, and Seaman was a vital component in the club’s success. He made 656 appearances for the North London side.
Voted seventh in the list of Arsenal’s 50 Greatest Players, Seaman was England’s undisputed No. 1 for much of that time, earning 75 caps. He joined City in the summer of 2003 after leaving Arsenal, but by January 2004, he had retired at age 40 after a series of errors highlighted his decline. Seaman played just 26 games for the Blues.
1. Patrick Vieira
Arsenal – 1996-2005 (406 apps)
Man City – 2010-2011 (46 apps)
One of the most famous players who played both for Arsenal and Manchester City, Patrick Vieira remains one of the all-time Premier League greats. His contribution to City as a player was minimal in comparison to what he gave Arsenal, but he is the finest player to have appeared for the two clubs.
At Arsenal, he became known as perhaps the best central midfielder in the Premier League, with only Roy Keane coming anywhere close to matching his influence. He signed for Arsenal from AC Milan in 1996 and spent nine seasons with the Gunners, winning three Premier League titles and four FA Cups.
After a spell in Italy with Juventus and Inter Milan, he played his final days at City and helped them win the 2011 FA Cup—the club’s first piece of major silverware in 35 years. He’s an extremely popular figure inside the City Football Group (CFG), and was the coach of the Manchester City EDS team between 2013-2015 and the head coach of New York City FC between 2016-18.