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Arsenal announce Campbell departure

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Campbell in surprise Arsenal exit


Arsenal have announced that defender Sol Campbell is to leave the club so he can seek a "fresh challenge".


Campbell, 31, made 197 appearances for the Gunners after joining the club from arch rivals Tottenham in 2001.


"It is with a sense of pride, achievement and the desire for a fresh challenge that I depart," he said.


Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger added: "Sol has been a giant for us but we respect his decision to move on and of course, we are very sorry to see him go."


Since his controversial move across North London in 2001, Campbell has won five major trophies at Highbury.


He was a member of England's World Cup squad, and despite signing a new three-year contract in 2005, he has recently been linked with moves away from the club.


Turkish club Fenerbache were reportedly interested in signing the centre-back in May and Portsmouth were understood to be interested in taking him to Fratton Park.


Campbell added: "Playing abroad is something that would really interest me but at the moment I am keeping all of my options open.



The younger players have benefited hugely from playing alongside Sol


Arsene Wenger


"I would like to thank Arsene Wenger for everything he has done for me, the world class players that I have been privileged to play alongside and accomplish so much."


The departure means that Campbell's last game for Arsenal was the Champions League final in which he scored the Gunners' goal in a 2-1 defeat.


Campbell walked out of Highbury after being withdrawn by Wenger against West Ham in February and struggled with fitness and injuries leading up to the clash with Barcelona in May.


Wenger attributed Campbell's early departure down to "exceptional circumstances" and said that he was going through a "difficult period" in his life.


The Frenchman added: "His desire and presence have been instrumental to our success over the past five years.


"Sol was at the heart of our defence and he will take away with him many fantastic memories, which he richly deserves.


"Winning two Premiership titles, three FA Cups and scoring in the Champions League final against Barcelona will surely be highlights he will treasure.


"I know that the younger players, who have progressed here over recent times, have benefited hugely from playing alongside Sol."


Campbell made his 69th international cap in England's final group game against Sweden and featured in three World Cups and three European Championships.

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We should be speaking to him now tbh.


He is better than any centre half we currently have at the club, he would also bring on Taylor leaps and bounds. Im pretty sure that they would sell him for around a million, would sort our defence out in the short term anyway.

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