Arsene Wenger admits regrets over Sol Campbell signing that caused severe stress

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Arsene Wenger has admitted he has some regrets over the way Arsenal signed Sol Campbell from Tottenham in 2001.

The English centre-back, who was one of the best in the world at the time, shocked the footballing world when he crossed north London to sign for Arsenal.

The nature of the deal was staggering, too, as Tottenham didn’t even receive a transfer fee with Campbell out of contract at the time.

The defender – who is now the Southend manager – instantly became public enemy number one in north London.

On the pitch, Campbell was an instant success, winning the Premier League and FA Cup double in his first season at the club.

He maintained a regular space in the England team, and was ever-present in Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ campaign.

But Wenger has conceded that due to the backlash Campbell received, he wouldn’t do the same again if he had the chance.

Speaking to 11 Freunde, he explained the impact the move had on Campbell off the pitch.

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Wenger said: "The situa­tion was really stressful for Sol and he told me after­wards how severe it became.

"He couldn't go to cer­tain places for dinner or walk freely in London because of the anger of the Tot­tenham fans.

"In hind­sight, I'm not sure if I would sign him again bea­ring in mind the dif­fi­cul­ties he faced."

"I knew that it would cause heated debates in London, but I was truly con­vinced by the player.

"I thought he was capable of facing the adver­sity.

“For me, it was easy because everybody was con­scious that I had signed a great player. But for him, it was more com­pli­cated."

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