Wenger comments on signing Campbell for Arsenal, indicates Tottenham Hotspur's fault

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has said he never would have signed Sol Campbell had Tottenham not let his contract expire.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has said he would never have signed Sol Campbell had he not been a free agent.

The Gunners boss told The Guardian that he does not consider Tottenham players for transfers, moving for Campbell in 2001 after his contract expired.

He said: "Sol Campbell? He was free, Campbell was out of contract. We didn’t negotiate any price."

His comments followed up his statement, "Once a player is at Spurs, you do not even consider him any more to be on your radar."

The insinuation is clear. Campbell was Tottenham's, and they carelessly let him hit the market. Campbell signing for Arsenal caused uproar among fans of his former club, who spent years jeering him in North London derbies, and referring to him as a 'Judas'.

The centre-back went onto win two FA Cups and two Premier League titles with Arsenal, including being a key part of their unbeaten season in 2003/04.

Earlier this year Campbell said he had no regrets over the move, telling ESPN: "Going to Arsenal was a big progression for me. Everything about Arsenal was better than Spurs at the time from the players, management to the mentality of the club and the facilities.

"I wanted to improve myself as both a person and a footballer. It was a highly controversial move and Spurs fans have not forgotten it, but it was the best thing that I could have done for myself."

Wenger's latest comments put the ball in Tottenham's court for their failure to sign Campbell, but the defender's comments earlier this year suggest he had his eye on taking a new step in his career regardless of the club's efforts to keep him.

Tottenham's chairman at the time Lord Sugar had said in his autobiography, also reported by ESPN, that the club's chances of signing him to a new contract were always doomed: "Sol Campbell was one of them. He kept on saying how much he loved the club and would stay, and hadn't made up his mind about signing a new contract. 

"But for the whole of his final year at the club, I just knew he wouldn't re-sign."

Tottenham visit Arsenal this weekend, hoping for a second successive Premier League win over the Gunners, but have one loss on their record this season to their rivals, defeated in the Capital One Cup by an unlikely Mathieu Flamini double. 

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