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.
- He’s free.
- His wages won’t be a problem.
- He already knows the Arsenal way of playing.
- He’s experienced and leader.
- He’s physically stronger than any centre-back on our books – including Thomas Vermaelen.
- He’s good in the air.
- He’s hungry to prove himself at the top level again.
- He’ll bit fresh and mentally revitalised after having an extended break from the game.
- 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.
- He’s not the most exciting signing we could make.
- He doesn’t directly improve the first-team.
- He’s arguably past his best.
- He’s always lacked pace and that’s unlikely to change.
- 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?
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