Campbell plans to finish career at Highbury

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The Independent Football

Sol Campbell is in talks to remain at Arsenal for the rest of his career. The 29-year-old has also defended his decision to pull out of England's friendly international against Portugal last week by saying that because of a persistent groin problem he is saving himself for the European Championship in the summer.

Arsenal have offered Campbell a three-year extension to the contract which controversially took him from Tottenham Hotspur in 2001 on a free "Bosman" ruling. The defender still has two and a half years left on that five-year deal and said: "There are talks going on but these things take a long time these days. I'm happy here but things don't get sorted out in just a week. If I sign a five-year deal then I don't think I'll be going anywhere else.

"I'm really enjoying my football," he added. "There's a fantastic manager and a new stadium in a couple of years' time so there's a lot to look forward to."

It is unclear whether the defender will be looking for a wage rise - his current deal is believed to be worth £80,000 to £100,000 a week because of his large signing-on fee. Arsenal certainly will not want to allow him to run down his contract as he did at Spurs.

Campbell came in for criticism after withdrawing from the England squad while still being available for Arsenal. The records show that he has played 16 and missed 14 of the 30 England games since his Highbury move. He has also missed the past five friendlies. That compares with the previous 30 England games, of which he played 20 and missed 10 while at Tottenham. But Campbell defended himself by saying: "For whatever reason, I've missed a few games through injury. It's just come at the wrong time for me. If I was fully fit, I'd be playing.

"There are other players who are in the same situation as me and they have pulled out as well. I'm not the only player who's had knocks and bruises at the time of England games.

"But then if it's a qualifying game, a lot of players will risk a lot more to play because we want to qualify for tournaments. You have to take a bit more of a risk then, you have to push that little bit more.

"I want to get to the European Championship, that's the main thing and Sven [Goran Eriksson] understands that. There are three more warm-up games so I'm sure that the players will all get together. There's plenty of time yet. The main thing is to get everyone fit for the tournament. Last time [at the World Cup], we only had a half-fit team so people should focus on that."