Legendary Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed one of his biggest managerial regrets.
Former Arsenal coach Wenger has admitted that he regrets signing Sol Campbell from London rivals Tottenham.
Campbell began his senior career at Spurs and made over 250 appearances for the London club, captaining them to the League Cup trophy in 1999.
However, the former England international made the controversial move to rivals Arsenal in 2001 and emerged as a key defensive figure for the Gunners during their 2003-04 ‘Invincibles’ season.
Wenger insisted that he was aware of the “heated debates” that would be sparked by Campbell’s transfer to Highbury but believed that the star “was capable of facing the adversity.”
“I knew that it would cause heated debates in London, but I was truly convinced by the player,” Wenger told German magazine 11 Freunde.
“I thought he was capable of facing the adversity. For me, it was easy because everybody was conscious that I had signed a great player. But for him, it was more complicated.”
Campbell spent five successful years with the Gunners winning two Premier League title, two FA Cups, as well as back-to-back places in the PFA Team of the Year.
Wenger also revealed the conversations he shared with the former Spurs star and the significant backlash he received from fans off the pitch after the transfer.
“The situation was really stressful for Sol and he told me afterwards how severe it became,” he explained.
“He couldn’t go to certain places for dinner or walk freely in London because of the anger of the Tottenham fans.
“In hindsight, I’m not sure if I would sign him again bearing in mind the difficulties he faced.”
Campbell went on to play for Portsmouth, Notts County and Newcastle, as well as a short second spell with the Gunners before retiring from the sport.
Wenger, meanwhile, stepped down as Arsenal boss in 2018 after an incredible 22 years at the club. The former Monaco manager won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups during his time in London.
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