Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No United Move for Campbell; Ex-England Star Won't Get Wish: No United Bid for Campbell

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No United Move for Campbell; Ex-England Star Won't Get Wish: No United Bid for Campbell

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

N EWCASTLE United will not be making a move for Sol Campbell this summer, contrary to reports yesterday.

The 35-year-old is engaged to Fiona Baratt - granddaughter of Newcastle property tycoon Sir Laurie Barratt - and has long harboured a wish to play for the Magpies.

But if he is holding out for a phone call from manager Chris Hughton, he will be disappointed.

Having worked with Campbell at the centre-back's first club, Tottenham Hotspur, Hughton is a confirmed fan of the former England central defender.

But with a limited transfer budget he appears to have decided free agent Campbell does not offer value for money even as a playercoach.

Reports yesterday suggested it was a post Newcastle had offered Campbell, with Celtic and West Ham United also interested. Even before Hughton's time at the helm but most recently before he rejoined Arsenal in January, Newcastle have enquiried about Campbell's availability. His wage demands have been an unsurmountable obstacle.

Newcastle seem sure to be in the market for a centre-back this summer with doubts over the future of Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson untested in the top flight.

But at this stage of his career, Campbell can no longer be expected to provide anything more than back-up, the role Arsene Wenger surprisingly asked him to fill at Arsenal during the second half of last season. Even with an injury to former captain William Gallas causing Campbell's surprising selection for the knockout stages of last season's Champions League, he started just 14 games last season, one of them in League Two during an ill-fated stint at Notts County.

Wenger opted for holding midfielder Alexander Song and fellow veteran Mikel Silvestre at centrehalf against Barcelona in the quarter-finals, keeping Campbell on the bench despite injuries at the heart of the defence in both legs.

Taylor, who has headed to Los Angeles with a personal fitness trainer in an attempt to be ready for next season, has only one year left on his contract and is one of Newcastle's most in-demand players in a summer where Hughton may have to sell to fund the squad improvements he feels are necessary. …

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