Friday 23 February 2018

Campbell's £35,000-a-week Toon deal

Rob Stewart

SOL CAMPBELL is expected to complete a move to newly promoted Newcastle within the next 24 hours after a medical on Tyneside.

Campbell has opted to head to St James' Park after rejecting the overtures of Celtic and Newcastle's arch-rivals, Sunderland, and it is believed he will sign a one-year deal with an option for a further season.

Newcastle are understood to be ready to pay the 35-year-old the maximum amount allowed under their new wage structure -- £35,000 per week -- which is less than half the sum he was offered to play for newly promoted Bundesliga side St Pauli.

The arrival of the free agent means he will be reunited with Newcastle manager, Chris Hughton, who was the No 2 at Tottenham when Campbell was at White Hart Lane.

Hughton was interested in signing Campbell last season after his ill-fated spell at Notts County came to an end but -- a player with 73 England caps -- he rejoined Arsenal for the second half of the campaign. He made 15 appearances for the Gunners after securing his release from Notts County.

Campbell has recently returned from his honeymoon after getting married in Northumberland in mid-July. Since then, Newcastle's need for defensive reinforcements has been heightened after Steven Taylor was ruled out for up to 10-weeks with a shoulder injury.

With Campbell now out of his plans, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger intends to buy a second central defender this summer, with Everton's Phil Jagielka still topping his list of targets.

Wenger had hoped that Campbell would stay for a further season as back-up to Thomas Vermaelen, Johan Djourou and new signing Laurent Koscielny, but is now actively pursuing other targets. He is well aware that he cannot afford to begin the season with only three senior centre-backs, particularly as Djourou missed last season with a knee injury and Koscielny has only played in the French league.

Arsenal had an initial bid of around £10m rejected in June and are likely to make a fresh offer for 28-year-old Jagielka, who would add considerable Premier League experience to the Arsenal squad and, if he could be prised away from Everton, would be likely to begin the season in central defence alongside Vermaelen.

However, Wenger has also been scouting a number of other defenders across Europe and, despite having already spent £8.5m on Koscielny during this transfer window, has an available transfer budget comfortably in excess of £20m.

The other priority is the goalkeeping position, with Wenger having recently made the stark admission that he does not feel like he has an obvious 'No 1'. Arsenal's main target is Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and a fresh offer is thought to be imminent.

The battle to keep captain Cesc Fabregas is ongoing, although Barcelona appear increasingly resigned to having to wait for at least another season.

An offer of £29.2m has already been rejected and, unless there was another direct bid, Arsenal have refused to even speak to Barcelona.

"It's not a problem with the wishes of Cesc or of Barca -- Arsenal don't want to negotiate," said Barcelona spokesman Toni Freixa.

A further difficulty for Barcelona is the club's current financial predicament. An audit of the accounts by new president Sandro Rosell yesterday uncovered a post-tax loss €77.1m for the 2009-10 season.

Javier Faus, a Barcelona vice president, also revealed that the club's net debt had swelled to €442m from €329m at the end of the 2008-09 season. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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