GUNNERS LAND SOL

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ARSENAL have announced the shock signing of Tottenham defender Sol Campbell.

The Spurs skipper has sensationally agreed to cross North London to head for Highbury in a remarkable Bosman free transfer, which will infuriate the White Hart Lane faithful.

Ironically, Campbell's final game was against The Gunners in the FA Cup semi-final last season, when he limped off injured. He has signed a four-year contract with his new employers.

After growing up with Spurs, Campbell stunned the club by revealing his decision to take advantage of his status by snubbing the offer of a lucrative new deal to remain with Glenn Hoddle's side.

The choice of Highbury, ahead of Internazionale and Barcelona, is certainly a surprise one, considering Campbell's comments about his affection for Spurs, but they were one of the few clubs to match his chosen criteria of being England-based and playing Champions League football next season.

"It is a fantastic club," he stated. "My decision is based on football totally and a great team, manager, the set-up is geared up to win.

"I want to be here and I am here now.

"There were a number of clubs but a lot of factors I had to go through. That was one of the reasons why it took so long. In the end, it was overwhelming for Arsenal.

"It was a little bit hectic but, at the moment, I just want to play football. I'll let other people talk because they do that all the time.

"I have made my decision and I am happy and hope everyone respects that decision. Of course, there is a big decision process as I spent a lot of years at Tottenham. While I was there, I played my heart out and did everything to the best of my ability but the time comes when you have to reconsider and I have done everything right.

"My contract has run out, I am a free agent and decided I wanted to come to Arsenal."

Click here for video footage of the press conference
Click here for Opta's view of the transfer
Click here for Speaker's Corner and your chance for a say

Arsene Wenger added: "I tried to attract him here because he is the best and it is an opportunity to sign a free agent of his level. After chatting to him, he is an ambitious guy who wants to improve and play at the top level.

"That convinced me he is the right player for us.

"I feared we could not compete on financial basis with the top clubs who were in for him but we could give him a football challenge and I believe we could give Sol something that was important because he is close to the England team, in London, rather than anywhere in the world.

"To play in England ahead of the World Cup gives him a guarantee, I believe.

"It is a huge signing in the history of the club but he has to prove that, and I have to prove that, in the coming months, but I am convinced he is a huge signing."

Campbell admitted he was unfazed by the speculation about his decision, claiming: "I've kept my head when other people around me were losing it; a lot of different situations were blown out of proportion but that is usual.

"I'm ambitious, I want to play football and dream about playing at the top level.

"It's very important to stay in England. The England manager is here looking around at different teams but the majority of games are going to be here."

And agent Sky Andrew revealed: "It would have been a lot more lucrative for Sol to go abroad but he decided to stay in England. It would be unfair to mention the other clubs involved."

Spurs' David Buchler insisted there was no way that the player would head for the club's arch rivals but, in the end, the decision was purely down to the centre back and he has agreed to link up with Wenger.

With Richard Wright also believed to be close to sealing his move from Ipswich, The Gunners are showing they mean business next season, as Francis Jeffers and Giovanni van Bronckhorst have also joined the club.

Wright was not officially unveiled at the press conference, as expected, and fresh reports from Holland claim a deal for Jerzy Dudek can be resurrected, but The Gunners confirmed they are still holding talks with the young Town keeper.

If the latest developments can persuade Patrick Vieira to remain at Highbury, Wenger will have a formidable squad at his disposal.

Whatever the outcome of the Frenchman's wrangling with his club, the prediction that Arsenal will not obtain a place in the top five of The Premiership next season certainly looks a foolish one.