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Where Do Old Defenders Go?



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If you are an Arsenal defender, you usually stay with the club until you’re too old to run (with Cygan’s case Arsene seems to be making an exception).

Sol Campbell then, is not your typical Arsenal defender. He could be likened to Ashley Cole in some respects – greedy, self-involved and the owner of a massive ego (wait, that’s an Arsenal / footballer thing, aint it?), although Ashley Cole is the better player overall.

What makes Campbell so frustrating is his inability to accept any sort of criticism (there is always someone / something else to blame) and a unique attraction of strange luck – disallowed goals, Champions League goals, fantastic defending and horrible ‘headless chicken’ impressions rolled into his last two World Cups…the list goes on. His height and strength make him a naturally strong center-back, but in the last two years his fitness has slipped and his lack of pace has been cruelly exposed by the opposition.

How will fans remember Campbell? Just as Rio Ferdinand will forever be burdened by the memory of that “missed” drug test (and his tussle with John Terry for the title of England’s best defender), Campbell may well be remembered most for his exit from the West Ham game (although Spurs fans may beg to differ).

His exit from Arsenal is also the signal for another defender’s exit – Ashley Cole. Arsenal showed with Campbell that despite the need for defensive cover there were situations in which it was better to part company than to have the player stick around. With Cole things are worse, so as long as Chelsea can stump up 15 to 20 mil, Cole is gone (and a defender and midfielder are probably coming in).

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Ahmed Bilal created Sportslens in 2006. He is a business consultant and entrepreneur who helps businesses identify and overcome their biggest challenges. He’s also the founder of Football Media, an online advertising agency that specialises in sports and male audience targeting, with a monthly reach of 100m+ sports fans in the UK and US. He’s also the previous owner of Soccerlens.com – a sports news site that reaches 3m+ readers / month.