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Jan 13, 2010

Campbell: Arsenal return ''not about money''

Sol Campbell has told ESPN Soccernet that he is going back to Arsenal for "the love of the game, not the money".

Adams: Never go back?

Campbell made an incredible return to North London to play for the Gunners' reserve side at Upton Park on Tuesday night after training with the club since his exit from Notts County.

Now, the former England defender, whom Martin Keown has suggested could still play for his country in this summer's World Cup in South Africa, has made it clear that he has not sought the lavish salary that he is used to, and speculation he is on a £40,000-a-week or even a pay-as-you-pay-deal are wide of the mark.

Campbell told ESPN Soccernet: "It's not about the money, it's about playing football, and the love of the game, and the sheer enjoyment at being back at Arsenal.

"Also we are talking about a six-month contract, if the technicalities are sorted out with the Premier League and other issues which Arsenal are currently dealing with, otherwise it is a straight forward six-month contract.

"I want to play, and I am happy to play in whatever capacity Arsene Wenger asks of me. I hope if all goes well, that I can sign for the club.

"I had to sign forms to enable me to play in the reserves, but the club are still working their way through the paperwork before I can sign the six-month contract. I am sure that will be sorted out soon, but I've heard nothing further."

It is a cliche in football that few, if any, players make a big impact when returning to their former clubs, but Campbell feels that issue is totally irrelevant.

Campbell was effusive as he explained: "I don't think Arsene Wenger has done this on a whim, he has watched me for the past three months, working hard, and he can see it's worth it because he needs cover in all positions.

"I don't imagine for one moment he plans to throw me straight back into the Premier League games, but he might need to if he has injuries, suspensions, and of course, it's a long season with a lot of games, so he might need me for say a cup tie.

"No matter, whatever he wants to do, I am ready for it, I want to make a contribution and I believe I can do it."

Campbell was hugely encouraged by his 45-minute comeback at Upton Park. He said: "It was just nice to be back, it felt good, moving around the pitch, just being on the pitch for 45 minutes, the right amount of time to ease back into it.

"There were some youngsters out there and it was good to be in a position to help them if I could. In truth I haven't played a proper game for seven months, and you need to be prudent. If you play too long you can risk a muscle strain.

"Also, I am so glad the game beat the weather. Another 24 hours and it might have been snowed off, now that would have been a nightmare!"

As for former team-mate Keown's assertion that he could still play for England, Campbell said: "I need to stay fit, keep pushing and see what happens, but I have got to get going at Arsenal first. But the key to everything is that I am fresh. I feel fresh, and that is one of the things I noticed about myself even in that first half at West Ham, I felt fresh.

"Of course I'd love to play in the Premiership again, but I don't know what the boss has in mind for me. First I have to get the deal signed and sealed and get back into it, I cannot jump ahead about a first team return, let along an England return!

"But I feel full of life, I've been training with the first team for six weeks, maybe it's nearly two months now, and any club will get suspensions and injuries so my time might come. All I know is that I am ten times better off where I am now, than anywhere else."

Meanwhile, the club have confirmed that youngster Craig Eastmond has signed a new contract at Emirates Stadium. The midfielder, who can also play at right back, has made his first-team breakthrough this season.

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