Campbell’s transfer saga dragged on for several months from the first insinuation of not wanting to extend his stay at White Hart Lane. It was in tandem with what would become the annual farce of transfer speculation about Patrick Vieira’s future at the club.
It is interesting that the story observes Vieira needs first team action, as if the signature of Giovanni van Bronckhorst was designed to usurp the French midfielder from the starting line-up. At the time, Vieira was doing a good enough job of that himself with absences due to suspension a consistent theme of his career up to that point.
The Frenchman had castigated the club over squad strength previously, his words as Paul Weaver rightly pointed out, had a lot of agent-speak about them. Underpinning this is the dreaded matching of ambitions. Quite how a club matches the ambition of a player has always been unclear.
For example, the £25m transfer pot mentioned was not insubstantial and it was a ludicrous assertion to make about the club’s ability to finish in the top five. The nagging doubt is always there that the orator in question wants the club to sign particular players rather than anyone of a certain technical level. That said, whomever judged Francis Jeffers as being incapable of delivering silverware was a pretty shrewd assessor of his ability.
As it was Campbell would sign for the club on 3rd July 2001 and Vieira would remain at Arsenal until sold to Juventus on 14th July 2005. An interesting snippet at the end of the main story offered Vieira a hint that the grass was not always greener on the other side of the effect with the downward trajectory of Emmanuel Petit’s career meaning that he had to sign for Chelsea.
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