‘I’ll never forget it when Sol walked in!'

July 3, 2001 was supposed to be a routine signing announcement at London Colney.

Newspaper journalists and photographers had arrived at our training ground to cover the unveiling of Richard Wright, who had joined from Ipswich Town that week and was set to speak at his first press conference alongside Arsene Wenger.

But then Sol Campbell, whose contract at Tottenham Hotspur had just expired, walked into the room.

“We had an agreement that never came out,” Wenger told Arsenal Player. “I remember his press conference, when I said we will announce a player. Nobody turned up. It was here at the training ground. 

“There were only two press people here. I will never forget the press’ faces when Sol came in. ‘Sol Campbell from Tottenham’, they couldn’t believe it! 

“Sol definitely knew before the last week [of his contract] that he was signing for us. At least, before that he promised to sign for us.

“I realised [how significant it was] when we played our first game at Tottenham. It was difficult for him but this man is not afraid of big decisions.”

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