Campbell takes domestic option with Pompey deal

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The Independent Football

Portsmouth yesterday made the first of what they hope will be three major signings with the capture of Sol Campbell on a two-year deal, much to the surprise of his former Arsenal coach Arsène Wenger.

The England international had attractive offers from clubs in Turkey and France since leaving Arsenal last month but the 31-year-old put pen to paper after undergoing a medical at Fratton Park yesterday.

The central defender, who will be 32 next month, was signed by the Portsmouth manager, Harry Redknapp, as a free agent.

Campbell ended his five-year spell with Arsenal last month, saying he wanted a "fresh challenge and to make a major statement in a foreign league too". That he has ended up on the south coast has not impressed Wenger. "I have no regrets, but it is a big surprise to me because he cancelled his contract to go abroad," he said. "Have you sold Portsmouth to a foreign country? No."

Campbell won two League titles and three FA Cups at the Gunners and scored in the Champions' League final defeat by Barcelona in May. He left, however, after a difficult season in which he stormed out of a game in February against West Ham United at half-time after being responsible for conceding two goals. Injury then kept him out for 10 weeks.

As well as Campbell, Redknapp is looking to sign the goalkeeper David James and the Peruvian left-back Juan Vargas.

Vargas, of Argentinian club Colom de Santa, arrived last week for a medical and was in the stand at Friday's friendly at Oxford ahead of his proposed £1.6m move to Fratton Park.

James, the 36-year-old former Watford, Liverpool, Aston Villa and West Ham player, was left out of both Manchester City's games on their pre-season tour of Shanghai despite travelling with the rest of the squad to China.

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