The papers today are claiming that Arsenal are poised to offer former defender Sol Campbell a short term contract at the Emirates in a deal that will finally see the centre back return to football. Campbell sensationally quit League Two side Notts County back in September, after making just one appearance for the club and has since been training with his former club Arsenal in an attempt to regain match fitness. Campbell has been unable to sign for another club since terminating his contract but it now seems as though he will be offered the opportunity of a romantic return to his former club, with Arsene Wenger set to offer him a deal.
The prospect of a return to north London for Campbell may excite many Arsenal fans and whilst the former England defender was a fine player during his 5 years with the Gunners, I believe it would not be the right move. Wenger does not make many mistakes, but bringing Campbell back to the Emirates would be one.
Wenger’s side find themselves 3rd in the table and in fine form despite an injury crisis at the club. They are within touching distance of leaders Chelsea and are thoroughly in the title race despite being written off by many back in November. There is no point in dwelling on the past and a move for Campbell right now could well disrupt the squad harmony. Arsene Wenger’s philosophy is shown by the young age of his squad and I fail to see how Campbell could fit into the side. At 35, he is no spring chicken and has been out of football for almost 4 months. First team experience is vital and Campbell has only played one competitive fixture since leaving Portsmouth in July of last year; a League Two fixture against Morecombe, which his side lost. I do not think Campbell would benefit a side whose mentality is firmly based on fast, fluid football and I can only see the defender being a hindrance.
Admittedly, Campbell would inject some experience and leadership into the side, but Arsenal are no Man City and they do not appear to be lacking it. Cesc Fabregas has done a terrific job since being handed the armband and they appear to have overcome the controversy surrounding William Gallas. Gallas offers experience along the backline whilst players like Sagna and Clichy, despite still being young, also have considerable Premier League experience.
Arsenal’s problems at the moment lie in the attacking department, not the defensive. The squad may not be the largest in the league but they still have the likes of Mikael Silvestre and Phillippe Senderos (should he stay) as defensive cover as well as Alex Song should he be needed in the centre of defence. If you couple this with the eventual returns of Gael Clichy and Johan Djourou then it becomes clear that Arsenal are not desperate for the arrival of Campbell.
Surely a return from the former Arsenal man will only end badly. Campbell already has a great reputation with the club he made 135 league appearances for and there is no point in tainting it with what is undoubtedly an unnecessary return.
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