9 pros and 5 cons of Sol Campbell’s return to Arsenal

It’s all about Sol Campbell today as the ex-Arsenal defender announced he’s ready to get rid of the ‘ex’ bit and rejoin the club where he became a star.

But sentiment aside the question remains: is this a good move for us?

I weigh up the pros and cons of Campbell’s inevitable signing below.


  1. He’s free.
  2. His wages won’t be a problem.
  3. He already knows the Arsenal way of playing.
  4. He’s experienced and leader.
  5. He’s physically stronger than any centre-back on our books – including Thomas Vermaelen.
  6. He’s good in the air.
  7. He’s hungry to prove himself at the top level again.
  8. He’ll bit fresh and mentally revitalised after having an extended break from the game.
  9. He can provide cover for either Vermaelen or William Gallas if they get injured and patch the hole before Johan Djourou can put himself back in the picture.


  1. He’s not the most exciting signing we could make.
  2. He doesn’t directly improve the first-team.
  3. He’s arguably past his best.
  4. He’s always lacked pace and that’s unlikely to change.
  5. His signing will see Philippe Senderos leave the club (could be a pro depending on who you are though).

My personal opinion is that Campbell’s signing is a good one for Arsenal.

Some supporters might write this off as just another Mikael Silvestre  but I feel Campbell is and always has been a better player than him. What’s more, he brings with him a positive, experienced attitude in the dressing room and the sort of aerial power that Messrs Gallas and Silvestre can only dream about.

There really is no downside to bringing back Campbell. He costs nothing, his wages will be low and he adds another body to an area of the pitch that needs cover. I’m sure some supporters will have wanted a higher-quality player to be brought in but at the end of the day Vermaelen and Gallas are clearly first-choice and playing well and there’s no real reason to bring someone in to break that up.

It’s reasonably clear to me that Wenger’s future central-defensive partnership is Vermaelen and Djourou and Campbell will provide a good stop-gap until the Swiss player can return from his serious injury. I think people have forgotten about just how promising a player Djourou is and how well he performed in the early part of last season.

I actually expected Djourou to put a huge amount of pressure on Gallas this season and perhaps start 2010/11 as first-choice, although Gallas’ improved performances and the injury to Djourou means that is unlikely. Nevertheless, he remains a big part of the future and the signing of Campbell won’t change that.

So all in all, not as spectacular as we might have hoped but the signing of Campbell (when it goes through) should prove to be a useful one.

Just by the by, is Wenger’s famous stubbornness fading out? First he hints at breaking his famous contract rule by giving Gallas a longer deal and now he brings back an ex-player. What is the world coming to?


Have your say on the inevitable signing of Sol Campbell by leaving a comment.



  1. Personally I think our young guns need a few more experienced players, because we always seem to loose when it matters most. William Gallas in the past season has let through some SHOCKING goals. I say let Campbell prove his critics wrong..

  2. With wenger being such a stickler for physical fitness, he must still have chops, he’s never going to lose his tackling ability or reading of the game… I can see a 6 month dceal being great for all concerned we get experienced cover that isn’t Silvestre, Sol gets to show potential suitors he’s still got it and hopefully gets a better move than Hull or Newcastle who he has turned down in order to re-sign for us (according to Sky Sports News)


  4. Sol Campbell??. left to a mid-table club in 2006, ok there for a season or two, now fit for the championship. Have cover at the back anyway, if we where thinking of bring back Arsenal Legends then how about Henry upfront and Seaman in goal?

  5. I think the possible signing of Campbell could prove to be a good one – short term. The main problem that seems to be croppping up is with his lack of pace, well John Terry isn’t exactly Usain Bolt but his knack of being in the right place at the right time in a positional sense is something else. Campbell’s experience will be a great help to the side and i think he knows he won’t be starting every game so filling in for either Gallas or Vermaelen when need be is certainly a better option than either Senderos or Silvestre for me. For once Wenger is recruiting for the here and now, instead of for tomorrow. With Campbell we know what we are getting, someone with experience and someone who can still do a job when need be. He hasn’t actually been out of the top level for all that long either, was only last season he was playing at Pompey forming a good partnership with Distin. I think he can handle most of the challenges in the premier league but can he still handle the top bracket if called upon? i.e Torres/Rooney/Drogba that’s the only question mark for me.

  6. I think the possible signing of Campbell could prove to be a good one – short term. The main problem that seems to be croppping up is with his lack of pace, well John Terry isn’t exactly Usain Bolt but his knack of being in the right place at the right time in a positional sense is something else. Campbell’s experience will be a great help to the side and i think he knows he won’t be starting every game so filling in for either Gallas or Vermaelen when need be is certainly a better option than either Senderos or Silvestre for me. For once Wenger is recruiting for the here and now, instead of for tomorrow. With Campbell we know what we are getting, someone with experience and someone who can still do a job when need be. He hasn’t actually been out of the top level for all that long either, was only last season he was playing at Pompey forming a good partnership with Distin. I think he can handle most of the challenges in the premier league but can he still handle the top bracket if called upon? i.e Torres/Rooney/Drogba that’s the only question mark for me.

  7. all arsenal fans should call this transfer window 31 days of bullshit we are told we need a striker and we get sol back at 35 . we let good player go at 30 because the are to old .i just dont get it any more spend some money and win the title this season wenger saying its unfair of other clubs to pay big money for players . when we wont thats why we havent won the title

  8. i like sol but i think wenger signed him just for PR purpose nothing else. because anyone who watched arsenal’s game can see where we should add a player …

  9. For all the experience nine years at Old Trafford may have given Silvestre, the truth is his best days are some distance behind him, and even in those glory years he never consistently secured a starting berth in the centre of their defence – in fact the seasons he did were some of United’s poorest, so in Silvestre we are far from talking about one of the greats. Senderos meanwhile, having enjoyed success and ridicule in equal measure in an Arsenal shirt in the past, looks to have played his last game for us – being left out of even the Carling Cup team makes that a near certainty – and whilst Djourou has consistently shown great promise in Arsenal colours, he will not be appearing for us in 2009/10.

    So with this in mind, a man with five senior honours to his name in the red and white of Arsenal, with the respect of Arsene Wenger and seemingly the rest of the Arsenal squad, and a level of dedication and professionalism rarely seen in a player of his age, represents a perfect solution to a short term problem – the need for a third choice centre half until Djourou returns.

    Unlike Silvestre, we are talking about one of the most talented defenders of his generation, and a man that was the rock on which a double winning team and an invincible side were built. You can argue that at 35 his lack of pace may let him down, you can argue he has shown psychological weakness in the past, you can argue the last veteran defender we bought has been a unreserved flop – and they’re all valid points. But can you find me a better third choice centre half in the Premier Division than the experience, resilience and might of Big Sol? I think you’ll struggle.

    Now… Dennis Bergkamp to step in for Van Persie anyone?

  10. Is Wenger’s stubbornness fading out? It seems like on this issue that’s a yes. My sense is that he knows he had the balance between youth and experience wrong.

    Now that we have a real sniff of PL and CL glory, he will want to surround his young players with a few older hands. Rosicky and Gallas are resigned; Campbell is signed short term.

    Wenger has also seen players like Giggs contributing right into their mid-thirties. If one remembers France’s run to the W.C. final 4 years ago it was led by a 35 year-old Zidane. While Z could not do it over the course of a season any more, in a few crucial games he was able to up his game and was once again a world-beater. Give Campbell a limited roll and he should be able to do the same.

  11. Intresting points for skysports:

    With veteran defender Sol Campbell seemingly set to re-sign for Arsenal, skysports.com’s James Dall takes a look at the pros and cons of such a deal.


    As the majority of Arsenal fans will know, Campbell boasts a wealth of pedigree. At international level, the centre-back has earned 73 caps for England, playing at two World Cups. During his time at Tottenham, Campbell lifted the League Cup in 1999 while at Arsenal he won the Premier League twice and the FA Cup three times. Then at Portsmouth he was again an FA Cup winner in 2008. Few of Arsenal’s current crop boast silverware experience, so there is an argument that Campbell’s knack for being victorious could help to inspire Arsenal’s youngsters while his knowledge of how to last the distance could also be invaluable. Furthermore, Campbell can help pass on his tricks of the trade to the current centre-halves at the club, with Thomas Vermaelen undoubtedly a willing learner at 23-years-old. Arsenal’s weakness is defending, so perhaps Campbell can assist here, even during training sessions. Indeed, much credit was given to Martin Keown for his coaching role when Arsenal reached the 2006 Champions League final – a game that Campbell scored in.


    Campbell has captained England, Spurs and Pompey – so it is clear managers have seen he has the ability to lead a side. Cesc Fabregas, just 22 years of age, is of course the Gunners’ current skipper, and, while of course the Spaniard appears to be doing a fine job, another voice in the dressing room is always welcome. Indeed, giving him the armband could even do more worse than good to Fabregas’ game. Maybe one of the reasons Wenger overlooked Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira during this January transfer window was that he envisaged Campbell coming in and doing a similar role of war veteran, telling stories of days gone by, his role for the Invincibles and generally inspiring the group.

    Competition for places

    Vermaelen and William Gallas are of course Arsenal’s current first-choice centre-back pairing, but behind that the Gunners look thin. Johan Djourou is crocked, Philippe Senderos’ future appears to lie elsewhere, Mikael Silvestre increases most fans’ blood pressure and, while Alex Song can play there, it would be criminal to move one of the club’s top performers this season out of position. If Campbell is serious about making a “big, big contribution”, then he will need to play. That will mean impressing in training and in turn exerting pressure on Wenger to pick him, which is no bad thing. It would be human nature for Vermaelen or Gallas to become complacent with no real worry of being replaced, so Campbell’s mere presence on the substitutes’ bench could be beneficial.

    Backs against the wall

    Campbell’s age means no matter how hard he trains his pace is on the decline. However, physically he still looks powerful and therefore he should remain towering in the air. For those games in which Arsenal come up against long ball after long ball, Campbell could play an important role. Even when Arsenal are defending a lead – something they have been suspect at – and their defensive line drops deeper, throwing Campbell on could be an excellent option for Wenger: someone to bark orders at the backline, someone to be no-nonsense.


    Campbell is a free agent and reports suggest that he will sign a deal that is performance-related and will last until the end of the season. Wenger is partial to a bargain, and this would be the first time he has re-signed a former player.

    It’s a World Cup year

    Granted, Campbell for England at the 2010 World Cup is an outside chance, however it is fair to say that the state of Fabio Capello’s centre of defence at present is iffy. We all know how players tend to up their game in a World Cup year – is it a coincidence that five of the top 10 Premier League goalscorers this term are English? – so therein lies added incentive for Campbell, who surely feels he has a point to prove.

  12. i agree with mr.weber

    this definitely is a good signing..its a win-win for us..but suggesting Vermi to move to DM is a bit bizzare though i wouldn’t mind that if we had someone who’s not past his prime for CB

    With probably the most congested period of fixtures awaiting us , i think we’ll definitely see him start in some games

    i don’t quite understand the obsession of most bloggers with us signing a striker..we really don’t need one…you just have to look at the everton game..even vermi had decent chances to score..it’s just the way we play..everyone gets a chance at the goal..the only attribute lacking right now is height which would be sufficiently fulfilled once nikkib’s out of the treatment room

    the only signing that can a make some sense is that of a DM and that too someone who should be ready to warm the bench because song is world class at the moment and deservedly so

    as wenger rightly put it , “buying” sometimes reflects a superficial rationality and considering we’ve scored the most number of goals , it would be foolish not to agree with that

    let’s hope cesc is able to start on sunday..i ,for one, am very satisfied with the current squad and don’t really see a need to buy anyone provided the big boys stay fit

  13. Sol is certainly past his best, but he still is a fighter on the field, I can’t say the same about Senderos with the same assuarance.

    The contradicting thing is if we allow Sol to return we might as well allow other old players to return such as Viera, not that I want Viera back but its just a tad confusing to predict Wenger nowadays. He tinges on the eccentric but then again eccentric is good…sometimes. Nowadays his mood on the bench is really weird as well as his post match comments.

    Overall I hope Sol impart some of his defend experience to Gallas, Verm and co. He was an excellent defender in set piece situation.

  14. I do not think Campbell can be an answer to Arsenal problems.
    He is not a king of a player we were in need of, he has past his own. Arsenal need strong midfielders and strikers, SC is not one of them. AW is out of his mind, it’s like signing Sylivester!!!!!!.

    Letting Chamakh go and allowing in Campbel!!!!!!

  15. I keep hearing people saying that Campbell will allow Vermaelen to move into the Defensive Midfield position.

    Is this the general consensus as I really don’t see this happening? Sol surely isn’t expected to be a first team player and the reasons for not moving Song to centre half apply to the idea of moving Vermaelen.

  16. Sol’s a good signing, but don’t be surprised if this becomes the only signing for Arsenal this transfer window. Considering that Bendtner is already training, a new striker is very unlikely.

  17. i like sol , at least without song we can win man u in the team as sol can partner Gallas so that vermalean can play the holding roll as he has the ability to go forward and create or score goals . this will be a perfect setting against man u and chelsea
    as long as sol can play these two games and we win any other game he plays is a bonus

  18. SOL case, POSTIVE = A good cover, experienced, can blend into team play easily, a helping hand in training, provide options for Wenger, pressurize Verm and Gallas to perform better, since now they know that their place could be in danger (a bit stretched here, i know), available for champions league, and cannot be bullied by Drogba (read Senderos). NEGATIVE = Lost a yard or two pace?, Questionable mental strength? (West Ham), cannot cut it anymore in the top division? a step backwards for the club? PROPOSED SOLUTION = If possible, why dont we just reserve our judgment on him until he played a league/CL match,then we can asses him our self, whether he is still good. He could be good, providing the Larsson role which helped united to win the title, or he could easily be another Silvestre. Once outpaced by Zamora few years back, I believe can add few more to the list, such as Agbonlahor, Anelka, Torres, Nani Bellamy, Tevez, Ade, and the list go on. Until he played a competitive match then we should not come into conclusion yet.

  19. Why all the fuss about Sol C. at 35. I may be a bit ancient but I remember Leslie Compton playing for the gunners at centre half (back) at the age of 38 and winning an England cap. Sometime it is whats in the head and not the legs that matters.

  20. Andy, the great Phil McNulty at the bbc agrees with you (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/philmcnulty/2010/01/campbell_deal_makes_perfect_se.html)

    I also agree – having experienced player in the midst of the young-ins is good particularly when he costs nothing. his age might be a negative, but look at the past influence of older players in premier league teams – giggs, sheringham, scholes, Alexander (Burnley). players can contribute beyond the age of 30.

  21. @maza,
    great points we hav in the past let guys like henry,pires,sol,vieira,gilberto,etc go at aound 30 and they hav all gone on to play consisitently at a high level….selling them is one thing but the offers we sold them for are laughable….brazils current captain and midfielder gilberto to greek side for 1m…we cuda got at least 7/8M for a guy with his cv
    @any1 who thinks AWs stubborness is fading; il believe that when i see him splash out on proven quality in the positions we need,every arsenal fan,aswel as rival fans,know where we need to strenthen and sols signing wil not make us a stronger outfit at all,sol was a legend in his first spell with us but any arsenal fan who will be satisfied when this proves to be our only transfer activity does not want to win trophies…can u imagine the frustration of cesc,arsha,sagna and gallas???

  22. Any body will be better than Gallas.We can list at least 10 games we lost-from last season- just on the defensive lapse mainly committed by Gallas.People tend to get decieved by his body language.It is great relief that Vermealen happened this year.

  23. Shamabo, just back from work. Sol played quite well last night. Big and powerful in the air and quite adiquate on the truf for the time he was on. I know its only reserve bootball, but it looked as if he had never been away. Im still confused as to why did Wenger let him go 3 yrs ago and now thinks he can contribute at the highest level. Is it all about money. Is there really no cash in the kitty. Shambo another thing…during Ade byby’s interview about the shooting, did anyone notice he was wearing an Arsenal casual shirt….whats going on there then. Who was it that said, ‘once a gooner always a gooner’ the great T.H.

  24. …I do not know what AW is doing …definitely he is losing the plot …instead to bring some new solid defender he is looking for cheap stuff …Sol could be somewhere in Championship but no way to stand up in front of big, strong strikers…I think AW is singing Gallas tone when he is dropping Senderos …it is a shame, this guy played excellent games in Champion league ….I wish saying good luck to Arsenal but I can see another season without trophies…

  25. Wenger isn’t losing his stubbornness, no he’s just appreciating how close we are to something special this year. I think he’s compromising somewhat to ensure we can go that final stretch.

  26. ice there has always been money made available to the boss,even while we were repaying the stadium loan….who would withhold funds from the master that is wenger,he is simply his own worst enemy…him and benitez make some of the most stubborn decisions when it comes to players,just so that maybe somewhere down the line in 1 out of 20 games a player he has persisited with will hav a capable performance,i mean how else can u explain the amount of caps almunia has.
    IMO AW wants to win the league with this group and he has then got 1 over utd,chels,city and pool by beating the ‘big spenders’….wot he doesnt realise after skimping for years and havin great success with cesc,song,deni,clichy,gibbs and all the lower end purchases is that if he were to spend 50m on 2/3 world class players we would still the lowest spenders in this category be a huge margin.i am not some1 who needs a signing for the sake of it so i can get excited about all things arsenal,we genuinely need a goalscorer and midfield enforcer,and not just cos songs away,as a backup incase he gets injured.im even willing to endure the hapless almunia if hed do this much
    ice i couldnt believe adebayour wearin the arsenal top,the chap is a few pence short of a pound

  27. Shambo, i watch it on Euro Sport news after an African Nations Cup game. Jokes aside, i wouldn’t wish what happened to him onto anyone, even my worst enemy. He still looked traumatised and very emotional…that aside he was wearing an Arsenal shirt….even the news reporter commented on it.

  28. Emperor, welcome aboard. Vinod, just read yr comment, dont get you mate. Which games were you watching for you to believe anybody will be better than Gallas. How about titus Malachi bramble, Claudio Cacapa, lucas neill,

  29. @ice
    i have alot of sympathy for wot happened to the togolese,and adebayour,hes giving an interview and explanation on skysports news in the next 20 as to why he wore the top….no matter what he comes out with there is no excuse….that should hav been the last thing he put on

  30. adebayor is still in love with the club and it is twisting him up inside, wonder what the man city fans are thinkin at the moment. any time in the past a player has been spotted in another teams top they have been castigated.

  31. He won’t really play that much, but I can see Gallas getting injured even if it’s just for a while I think I would rather have Sol Campbell playing over Mikael Silvestre. and what are the chances that Wenger signs a striker?

  32. I think the sol business is shrewd business. Senderos is on his way out, understandably so. He is young and its a worldcup year so he wants to play. He is not overtaking gallas or vermi anytime soon, so yeah, somewhere else is where his destiny lies. So Sol is the perfect cover for that. Senderos has yet to make an appearance this year, if you replace senderos with campbell the result is pretty much the same. The difference, when Senderos gets his shot this year, he is more than likely going to put in a nervy performance (as he has done in the past, he always needs like 4 or so games to get his confidence and comfort). Sol can just slot in right in defense with no problem, even after riding then bench for 7 consecutive months.

    But in my opinion, the one thing I want from Sol at Arsenal, is for him to teach Gibbs and Traore some FRAKKING positioning. Seriously, both those lads need someone to sit them down and go over a few things, who better than Mr. Solid Defender himself, yeah he is past his prime, but his contribution to the club is more than the occasional game. Its more of a cover+mentorship type deal I think. We take a lot of flak from the media that our boys are too young, not the finished article yet, blah blah blah. Having Sol in the mix only makes the younger defenders better I think.

    Why a new striker? Cause all of the ones we have play the same way. Our attack is becoming predictable. Yes we scored more goals than anyone else in the first half of the season, there is no guarantee that will be the case in the second half. Bendtner is training, thats good, but history has taught us that its hard to predict how long a player can go from training to actually being on the pitch. Point in case, Rosicky has been in “training” and “2 weeks from return” for almost a year before he actually returned. We need another physical dimension upfront. A player that is older (not expecting to play all of the games) but has a physical presence. Someone that is slower, but excellent sense of positioning, and has no problem mixing it up with other defenders. If it was up to me, I would go for Luca Toni. Slow as anything, but good luck trying to knock him off the ball, plus his vertical leap is scary. So yeah, i think that is the only kind of striker we need. If we cant find one at a bargain no biggie, but we should still keep an eye out for one.

  33. The more I think about it the more I like it. Maybe I’m just convincing myself but, damn, it could be a great piece of business. After all his actual transfer fee is 0! And he’s already an Arsenal man in his blood. As Ramon has said above – if you have good positional sense you don’t need a lot of pace in that central defensive position. And Sol can actually head the ball! Something every other player in our team seems to struggle with, especially defensively. I would love to see him turn out against Bolton at the weekend. Sorry I’m repeating myself now. A bit like Arsene has in fact in re-signing Sol. As someone once said: ‘It’s deja vu all over again.’

  34. nonny liverpool are out and deservedly so!!!they are rubbish.did you all hear benitez blaming the ref??and as for those commentators on itv….clowns, it was a def pen and reading shouda won by 4,afterall their concession was an unlucky og
    back to sols signing like i said i hav much love for the big man and iv no doubts hel give his all.i really wud just love to see chiellini/dzeko/lloris type signings to complete our squad and cement us as 1 of europes elite
    also i watched barca vs sevilla toni and palop single handedly knocked barca out of the copa del rey…would love a guy him between the sticks…..you wanna check out the saves he made

  35. I would love it if we signed Lloris. Thats actually what Im secretely hoping for. One point of concern regarding Lloris is that he seems to be made of the same mold as Fabien Barthez. Which is to say very streaky. When on a hot streak great tender, when on a cold streak, even my 7 year old sister can score against him. Better than Almunia tho

  36. I don’t know enough about Lloris to comment, however he was superb against Ireland in the World Cup play-offs. Aside from that I just don’t know…

  37. I consider it positive to the club’s ambition this season but for me I just want arsene to consider signing a good player upfront this january window.

  38. Folks !!!! It’s a great sign…for Arsenal FC football club.

    Finally the is back…Sol Campbell. The guy who scored the first goal in Champions league final @ Camp Nou against Barcelona FC in 2007.

    I still feel Arsen wenger’s way is the best in the world to hire the players. He believes in young talent rather that the senior players.

    Arsenal’s powerful one touch football is mouthwatering to watch and feast to eyes.

    In my opinion Arsenal is one of the best soccer club in the world because of the beauty of football they display.

    2003-2004 squad is one of the best first team in the premier league history.

    Favorite players

    Thiery Henry , Mathew flamini , Parlour, Dixon, Reys, Pires, Van Persie, Rosiski….finally last but not the least.. Andrei Arshavin.

    Guys I am Hardcore fan of Arsenal FC.

    Cheers !!!!!!!! Naveen

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