As predicted by many, it’s been confirmed that Sol Campbell has left Arsenal. Five years, 197 games, five major trophies, one European Cup runners-up medal – the move was clearly a beneficial one for him, but now he’s after a “fresh challenge”.
He really was a great signing for us, and although last season (bar the Champions League final) was a disaster, with his walk-out against the Hammers being an act many have not forgotten or forgiven, he was on balance a superb player for us.
Arsenal, it appears, have given him a free transfer, which if you read not too far between the lines suggests that they too thought it was time for the big man to go. With wages like his – reported to be in the £50,000 a week mark – there are few clubs who would be prepared or are able to spend that kind of money on an injury-prone 31-year-old, so though Arsenal will lose a few million in transfer fees, they are saving about the same amount on wages by offloading him.
It leaves the path clear for the Senderos/Toure partnership to flourish yet further, with Djourou an option for cover, but there’s no doubt now we need another central defender, and one who knows the Premiership already.
Long shot this, but could Hoyte cover there? Is he good enough to? I recall he once played centre-half against Norwich, the season before last, and did OK. On top of that, he’s just had an entire season on loan, so if it’s ever going to happen at Arsenal, it’ll have to be this season.
Sadly, I have a sneaking suspicion Hoyte is one of those players who will play a whole load of pre-seasons and look quite solid before, at the last minute, being farmed off somewhere on loan again, this time never to return. But I hope not.
It also means we’ve lost three hugely experienced players this summer – Bergkamp, Pires and Campbell – with only one experienced player so far coming in (Rosicky). I’m a great admirer of Wenger’s bold youth policy, and the way he unearths gems from nowhere, but this summer at least, our squad needs experience adding to it to replace that which has departed.
Anyway, I wish Sol the best of luck, and hope he gets his dream move abroad.