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Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 16:05 UK

Campbell seals Notts County move

Sol Campbell

Campbell targets Premier League with County

Notts County have confirmed the signing of 34-year-old former England defender Sol Campbell on a five-year contract.

Campbell was a free agent after leaving Portsmouth and has joined the League Two outfit, who were taken over this summer, in a purely playing capacity.

"This club have got great ambition and I want to be a part of it," said the former Tottenham and Arsenal star.

Campbell has 73 England caps and played for his country under Magpies director of football Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Eriksson stunned the world of football when he arrived at Meadow Lane in July and in Campbell the club have now made their biggest on-field signing since being taken over by a Middle-East consortium.

"Sven played a big role," said Campbell, whose move to Notts County was revealed by BBC Radio Nottingham earlier in the week. "He's a great man. He's managed all over the world and he knows his football, he's a proper guy.

"He's seen the future. It's a challenge but I think everyone connected to the club are prepared for that challenge. It's refreshing. "


Campbell won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups during his five years with Arsenal, where he was an integral member of the double-winning team of 2002 and the 'Invincibles' (the squad which went unbeaten through the entire 2003-04 league season).

The 6ft 2in centre-half has appeared in three World Cups and was still playing at the highest level last season, making 32 appearances for Pompey in the top flight of English football.

And he also featured for England in the Euro 2008 qualifiers but has not been selected since Fabio Capello took over as manager.

"I'm looking to the future now," said Campbell. "Career-wise this sits perfectly for where I am at the moment in my life. I didn't really have to think too much about it.

"There were offers from the Premier League but that would have been short-term. I'm thinking of the future."

Campbell played down suggestions he was being lined up for a coaching position, insisting he is focused solely on helping the Magpies reach the Premier League.

"I've spoken to all the people concerned with the club and they've guaranteed me of their ambitions to eventually get in the Premier League," said Campbell. "From the management to the hierarchy they genuinely think it's believable.

"This is the oldest club in the world with a fantastic heritage.

"I'll play for at least three years and then go from there. They've got a lot of ideas but I'm here as a footballer, to keep on winning promotion and getting them up into the Premier League.

"It's going to be different but I don't mind starting again. League-wise it is moving down but they've got ambitions to move up and I think we will.

"It's going to be a different kind of situation but I just want to play football and I'm hungry. Football is in my blood and all I'm thinking about is promotion."

Campbell's former manager, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, said he was surprised by the player's decision to drop down three divisions and suggested he might find it difficult to cope.

Wenger 'surprised' by Campbell move

"It was a surprise, because of the level Notts County play at," said the Frenchman. "That shows you as well how much financial potential Notts County has suddenly.

"In May, did you expect Sol to go to Notts County? Certainly not. Time will show if it is a good move for him. It depends what is in his mind, if it is purely a football move or if it is a long-term move that he wants to be involved afterwards as a coach.

"Maybe it can be a good decision if he wants to build something on the longer term. On the short term, he will suffer a bit because he is used to top level football.

"When you move down, it is always difficult to cope mentally."

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp revealed he would have attempted to sign Campbell had he been in charge of any other Premier League club.

Campbell became a hate figure among Spurs fans after leaving for bitter rivals Arsenal in 2001 and Redknapp, who signed the defender for Portsmouth, said: "If I was at any other Premier League club I would have taken Sol Campbell no problem at all. I think he is still a fantastic player.

In my opinion he's still in the top six central defenders in the Premier League so for Notts County to get him in that division is incredible

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp

"In my opinion he's still in the top six central defenders in the Premier League so for Notts County to get him in that division is incredible."

The Magpies have been linked with a host of big-name players since Eriksson arrived, including David Beckham and Dietmar Hamann.

But manager Ian McParland has sought to bring in players with a proven pedigree in the lower leagues in England, with the intention of building steadily.

Signings like Lee Hughes, Luke Rodgers, Ben Davies and Graeme Lee have helped take the Magpies to the top of the table.

However, the club have also signalled their intent to move to the next level by signing former Manchester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel.

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