Campbell: Gunners need experience

Sol Campbell says that if Arsenal do not sign several experienced players during the summer they will not challenge for Premier League glory next year.

The 35-year-old defender became the first former Gunner to be re-signed by Arsene Wenger when he returned to the club in January and believes the team need more old heads if they are to be in contention for the title in 2010/11.

The last time the North London side won the league they went unbeaten, but since the 'Invincibles' the average age at Emirates Stadium has dropped by nearly a year and a half to 25 years and seven months.

Campbell says injuries hampered Arsenal's chances this year, but that experience is lacking at the Gunners.

"Injuries didn't help for sure. Key players like [Robin] van Persie and [Cesc] Fabregas. They really hurt us," he said.

"We just need more depth to the side because you're going to have suspensions and injuries and you can't keep relying on 13-14 players because once you have three or four injuries you suffer.

"By the time you get your players back again you could be six, seven or eight points adrift. And also the more experience you've got throughout the side it just shares the load during the season and level doesn't drop."

Wenger continues to nurture youngsters at Arsenal, rarely spending big, but Campbell feels the team are missing experience in order to push for silverware which has eluded the club for five consecutive seasons.

"You need experience players who have been through all the scenarios in the same season. You cannot beat it.

"In certain situations in a season it gets a bit sticky and you just know to focus your mind and get through it.

"There are times when you need a vital win in the league or to get into the FA Cup final. Players on that level who've got that kind of experience behind them ­ they are so valuable.

"At the back-end of the season we needed a few more experienced players on the pitch. It would have been a different end to the season."

By Owen Edwards

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