On Silvestre/Campbell

I’m not going to dodge the issue. A large part of me was finished with Sol Campbell when he walked out of Highbury at halftime when we were down 2-0 to West Ham. Plagued by personal issues, he disappeared for three days without contact. Interestingly enough, he surfaced later for us in the Champions League final, much like Ashley Cole in what was also his last Arsenal appearance. He scored a goal in the match, and that moment made me go apeshit with joy. It wasn’t to last.

We all know what happened next. Sol claimed he wanted to try football abroad, and after some time, he signed for Portsmouth. I won’t go into what happened after, but it’s quite a rehabilitation for a man if Arsene breaks one of his own transfer policies.

The re-signing of Sol Campbell is being greeted with much applause. I think it’ll be a decent piece of business myself. I think I’ve only heard a few dissenting views, and admittedly there is a real risk that Sol might not be able to hack it in the Premier League anymore. But, we’ll have four and a half months to judge that.

The reason why I point all of this out is to portray the negative vibes that surrounded the signing of Mikael Silvestre. In a way, it’s not all that different from Sol Campbell. They’re both Premier League champions with bucket loads of experience. They’re both veterans that are hungry for success. They both provide real leadership.

Now, I’m not entirely pleased with Mikael Silvestre on the pitch. He’s simply not the player he once was, and I know his Manchester United link rubs Arsenal fans the wrong way. But Sol Campbell also played for Tottenham at one time, so all can be forgiven. It’s only if a player moves in the opposite direction that he deserves scorn (see David Bentley). Making that move is bold and negative associations should be erased once it happens. Sir Alex Ferguson reluctantly allowed Silvestre to join Arsenal, as he didn’t want to stand in his way, much like Wenger allowing Senderos to leave for free.

The reaction of most bloggers to the signing of Sol Campbell is largely the opposite of the signing of Mikael Silvestre.

My feelings are that Arsene would not sign a player for any sentimental reasons. Something must remain in the tank, and if Sol showed that desire in training, he’s going to be a worthwhile stop gap signing.

He won’t be available for Bolton tomorrow, but Cesc will. And with Cesc on the pitch, everybody seems to play better. I didn’t approve of the crucifixion of William Gallas, but Cesc may end up being a decent captain himself.

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