Campbell keen on Manchester United move

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The Independent Football

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

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

A newspaper report today claimed free agent Campbell could be approached by United to train with the club with a view to him being handed a short-term contract in the new year.

Campbell, who has been training with Arsenal in a bid to keep up his fitness following his departure from Notts County earlier this season, today revealed he had not received any contact from United, but admitted the prospect of joining the reigning three-time Barclays 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 told ESPN Soccernet.

"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 Coca-Cola League Two promotion hopefuls County at the start of this month.

Campbell signed at Meadow Lane in August after being enticed to the club by director of football and former England boss 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, purely on the grounds that Ferguson was missing eight defenders in Germany last night for the 3-1 win over Wolfsburg.

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 John O'Shea and Jonny Evans out until January with leg and calf problems respectively, with up to eight games during the month 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.

In addition, the Da Silva twins, Rafael and Fabio, are also out of action at present and in any case, would hardly ease a central defensive crisis.

Ferguson does have Northern Ireland Under-21 international Craig Cathcart, currently on loan at Watford, although whether he would place his trust in someone so inexperienced is open to question, particularly for an extended period.

If Ferguson decides he needs a short-term reinforcement, it is easy to see why Campbell might prove attractive, particularly as it is only three years since he caused a similar surprise when he signed Celtic legend Henrik Larsson.

However, in that instance, Larsson was match fit after playing in Sweden for Helsingborg.

Despite Campbell's personal training regime the fact remains he has not played a Premier League game since quitting Portsmouth in the summer and would presumably require at least a couple of matches to reach the fitness levels required at the top level.

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