Campbell to consider Arsenal exit after World Cup

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The Independent Online

Sol Campbell yesterday raised fresh doubts over his future at Arsenal by revealing that he planned to hold talks with manager Arsène Wenger after the World Cup. The 31-year-old defender was linked with a move to Turkish club Fenerbahce earlier this week and refused to rule out the possibility of leaving Arsenal.

"We will have to wait and see," Campbell said. "It's the same as anything that comes along. You have to weigh up the situation. Arsenal is there and that's all I have to say about it. At the moment."

Campbell said he did not know anything about the possibility of Fenerbahce having offered him a three-year deal but added that he would seeks talks with Wenger. "I think I will get the World Cup out of the way and, obviously, with the Champions' League Final defeat no-one really wanted to talk anyway."

It is believed Arsenal would allow Campbell to leave despite the fact that he signed a new four-year contract last year. His position in the team has come under scrutiny through a combination of injury and the emotional problems he suffered in walking out during the defeat to West Ham United on 1 February.

There has also been the emergence of Philippe Senderos while Arsenal are thought to be in the market to add another, young central defender to their squad.

In saying that, Campbell finished the season strongly. "Obviously the injuries were getting on my nerves and I've managed to pull myself together and opportunities have opened up for me," he said. "I'm back on track now."

Campbell played in Arsenal's last five games - after recovering from a broken nose which caused a further setback - including last week's Champions' League final against Barcelona. The disappointment is still keenly felt. "You don't get many opportunities to win the Champions' League but they are a great side and we needed that second goal to kill them off," he said.

"It was 10 men for a long, long time. It's a shame. That's when you need that rub of the green."

He may need that himself if he is going to force his way into the England team this summer ahead of either Rio Ferdinand or John Terry.

"You have to look at it like it was at Arsenal," he said. "I had to be patient and it's the same situation now. It's a long tournament." It is also Campbell's sixth for England - three European championships and three World Cups - in a 10-year period during which he has gained 66 caps. "I don't know if many players have done that," he said. " I don't know if there are many other than England who've qualified for six on the trot."

His first was Euro 96 under the leadership of Terry Venables, who appears likely to feature in Steve McClaren's England regime. "He's managed around the world and we came close to winning the Euros. He knows his stuff."

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