Campbell excited by talk of United move

Former England defender says he would 'love' to make Old Trafford switch
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The Independent Football

Sol Campbell has responded to speculation linking him with Manchester United by saying that any deal taking him to Old Trafford would be a "great move".

The 35-year-old former Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Portsmouth defender has emerged as an unlikely candidate to join United after Sir Alex Ferguson's side was hit by a string of defensive injuries.

Reports yesterday claimed Campbell, who is now a free agent, could be approached by United to train with the club with a view to gaining a short-term contract in the new year.

Campbell, who has been training with Arsenal in order to keep up his fitness following his departure from Notts County earlier this season, yesterday said he had not received any contact from United, but admitted the prospect of joining the Premier League champions was enticing.

"I have heard nothing officially from Manchester United, but there have been suggestions and of course, it would be a great move for me, if it happens," he said. "I shall just have to wait and see if a call comes through the right channels.

"Of course I would love to play for Manchester United, but I am not counting any chickens, just waiting to see what happens. I am training as usual at Arsenal, and would go to train at Manchester United if I was asked."

Campbell is free to resume his playing career after ending his contract dispute with the League Two club at the start of this month. Campbell signed for County in August after being enticed to the club by the director of football and former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, but the defender left by "mutual consent" just one game into a lucrative five-year deal.

Linking Campbell with United is plausible enough, given that Ferguson was missing eight defenders in Germany for the 3-1 win over Wolfsburg on Tuesday. Of those, Nemanja Vidic is expected to return from a flu virus against Aston Villa on Saturday but the rest will be missing for an unspecified time.

Although Ferguson has already ruled out John O'Shea and Jonny Evans until next month with leg and calf problems respectively, with up to eight games during January to get through, every additional week is vital.

Wes Brown has a hamstring injury and has spent far too long on the sidelines in recent years to be entirely confident that any absence was not going to be for the long term, while the same is also true of Gary Neville, who has picked up another groin complaint.

Rio Ferdinand's back injury has already kept him out for over a month, with Ferguson previously indicating that it had been slow to respond to treatment, while the Da Silva twins, Rafael and Fabio, are also out of action at present

If Ferguson decides he needs a short-term reinforcement, it is easy to see why Campbell might prove attractive, though he has not played a Premier League game since leaving Portsmouth in the summer and would presumably require at least a couple of matches to reach the fitness levels required at the top level.

Sol survivor: Campbell's career

Born: 18 September 1974, Plaistow


1992-2001 Tottenham (315 games)

2001-06 Arsenal (197 games)

2006-09 Portsmouth (111 games)

2009 Notts Co (one game)

England: 73 caps, one goal Last cap: 21 Nov 2007, Croatia (h)


Premier League 2002, 2004; FA Cup 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008; League Cup 1999; Community Shield 2002, 2004.