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Tim Lovejoy - Sol Campbell signing could prove a masterstroke

Published: 15 Jan 2010 - 11:45:43

Sol Campbell's return to Arsenal is an amazing story. It's going to be fascinating finding out if he can stand up to the rigours of Premier League football at the age of 35.

Arsene Wenger is famous for monitoring the endurance of his players and offloading them when their legs go. It's said he uses the latest technology to track recovery runs during matches and can pinpoint when fitness is waning.

All of which makes the signing of Campbell even more unlikely. Wenger has never before gone in for an outfield player at this stage of his career, and you can only assume he has complete confidence Campbell is in peak condition.

When we see older players arriving at Premier League clubs they are usually deployed as sweepers, or in holding roles in front of the back four, but Campbell is an old-fashioned centre-back and will need to be at his physical best to cope with the quality and speed of strikers in the division.

Arsenal desperately needed some experience in the dressing room, and Campbell can provide that. He can also deliver a commanding presence on the field, to help galvanise Wenger's young Gunners.

If Campbell delivers, he could prove the best signing of the season. Though I'm gutted he didn't sign for Spurs. Nothing shocks me in football anymore, so it thought it was bound to happen.

MANAGER MAYHEM

It seems the role of football manager is becoming more and more important by the season, and you wonder why they're not the highest paid people in the game. They're clearly viewed by the owners as more important than the players.

Mark Hughes has gone, and the pressure now is firmly back on Rafa Benitez at Liverpool.

I have to say I feel a bit sorry for Benitez having to face those post-match interviews every week. There is no one left to blame.

On paper his squad is not a whole lot different from the 2005 bunch who won the Champions League, so it's hard to see a reason behind their disappointing season so far. Has he lost the dressing room?

We've entered crazy season now and I wouldn't be surprised if a number of managers get the sack before the transfer window closes.

After all, owners don't want managers spending their money on players who their successor might not want at the club.

MIXED EMOTIONS AT AFRICAN NATIONS

The shooting at the African Nations was desperately sad way for the tournament to get underway, and I sincerely hope we can avoid any such incidents at the World Cup this summer.

Now the attentions have turned back to football, we've been treated to some absolutely cracking action.

Goals have been flying in, players are shooting on site, matches are ending 9-9, and there are some of the worst goalkeepers you've ever seen between the sticks.

Watching on, you get the feeling that if one of the African nations can just get a decent defence and 'keeper in place, they'd have a genuine chance of winning the World Cup.

READ TIM LOVEJOY EXCLUSIVELY AT FOOTBALL.CO.UK EVERY WEEK. Follow Tim's twitter at 'timlovejoy'

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:tim lovejoy
Tim Lovejoy rose to fame as the genial co-host of Soccer AM, deploying his sharp wit and extensive football knowledge alongside Helen Chamberlain when the show launched in 1996. A Saturday audience of millions tuned in, and Lovejoy fast became a household name. After leaving Sky in 2007, Lovejoy is now a regular presenter at BBC Radio 5 Live, and co-hosts the popular Friday night show, ‘Murray and Lovejoy’s Sports Express’ with Colin Murray. He can also be found hosting BBC Two's Sunday magazine show, 'Something for the Weekend'.

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