Sol shocked by Arsenal approach

Sol shocked by Arsenal approach

Published Feb. 20, 2010 8:55 p.m. ET

Sol Campbell never seriously thought he would win another contract at Arsenal - but he's there now and targeting two more seasons at the top.

Campbell looked set for football's scrap heap in September last year when he left Notts County after just one, disastrous, appearance for the League Two outfit.

Campbell never thought his time in football was up, however, and was always confident of securing a move to a Premier League or Championship club.

The 35-year-old began training with Arsenal to keep his fitness up but he "never gave a single thought" about a return to the club until January.

He was eventually handed a six-month deal by the Gunners and now believes he can play for another two seasons after this one at the top level.

"I've always believed in my own ability, but never thought I'd play for Arsenal again," Campbell told The Times.

"I came back to try and keep fit, with a view to getting another club, in the Premier League or the Championship. I trained by myself for three weeks, which was hard work mentally. I tried to do everything - jogs, sprints, in and out of cones, I went swimming, anything just trying to get the best out of the facilities I had. Ball work was pretty difficult on my own!

"I started training with the first team after about a month, just popping in to help out if they were a few bodies light. I was the spare man, but didn't mind. It was like going back to school, but I didn't mind starting again.

"I never gave a single thought about playing for Arsenal until January, when Arsene Wenger started to consider it. It was a gradual process. He never said, 'we're short Saturday, can you play?' Not quite anyway.

"The boss saw me training, making better times, playing okay and how I was conducting myself around the club. He said he was thinking about signing players, but they were a bit top-heavy with defenders so I'd have to wait."

Campbell added: "I had a few other offers, but once this one came along there was only one winner.

"Everyone else was blown out of the water. There were a few things to sort out as they had a few defenders, but I said to the boss, 'However long you want me to wait, I'll wait'. He was honest and said he wouldn't stand in my way if a move came up, but I was prepared to wait. I don't mind being patient."

Campbell is only contracted to Arsenal until the end of the season, but he reckons he is well capable of performing at the highest level for a few years yet.

"I think I can keep myself fit and play top football for the next two to three years," he said.

"This season and at least another two. I'm here for six months, and if something happens, something happens.

"If not I'll have to look elsewhere. The manager's told me I've got to the end of the season and he's looking for other players, but I want to play as many games as possible for Arsenal and help them to win something."

Campbell is in the process of suing former employers Portsmouth for £1.7million in outstanding payments.

A legal battle is the last thing the financially-crippled South Coast club need right now, but Campbell insists he is well within his rights to fight for what he is owed.

"I can't say too much about Portsmouth as the process has begun," he said.

"There's a lot of other people who've taken far more out of the club than me. As far as I see it, if you have a contract, you have a contract. That's it, and it's only fair.

"If you get something written down, that's what you're owed. How's that going against football? I signed that contract in good faith.

"Some of the other players have got contracts and they've not been paid either. It's clear, it's stated, it's in people's faces. I'm not exactly going to be the one that brings them down."