Former Arsenal centre-half Sol Campbell has rubbished suggestions that a power shift is unfolding in north London and insists it will take more than one impressive season for Tottenham to emerge from the shadow of their arch rivals.
A draw against already-relegated Newcastle on Sunday would realistically see Spurs secure a second-placed Premier League finish and end the season above the Gunners for the first time since 1995.
An imminent move to a new stadium and the confirmation that highly-rated manager Mauricio Pochettino has signed a fresh five-year contract emboldens the suggestion that Tottenham are destined for a prosperous future.
Campbell, however, who contentiously and acrimoniously crossed the north London divide when his White Hart Lane contract expired in 2001, believes only sustained success will see Spurs become the dominant force in their bitter duel.
“Power shift is when you start winning Premier Leagues and FA Cups on a regular basis and getting to quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals of the Champions League, that’s power shift,” Campbell told City A.M.
“Power shift is not one season. Power shift is when you’ve got consistency over a five or 10-year period, that’s power shift. There is no evidence yet. There is potential, but everybody has got potential. It’s all about realising potential and making it into reality.
“The trouble with football now is a lot of people jump up and down after about one or two seasons. Come back to me when it’s five or 10 seasons and you have consistently played top, top football. It’s all about consistency over the years, not just one season.”
Campbell went on to win two Premier League titles and three FA Cups after signing for the Gunners from Tottenham, while he was also a member of the Invincibles during the 2003/04 season – the last Arsenal side to lift the Premier League.
The 41-year-old, who also won the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008, admits that if he was still playing and the same scenario presented itself he would still leave Tottenham, but not sign for Arsenal.
“If I was in the same situation, I’d probably move abroad. I’d probably have to look at a move Spain, move to either Barcelona or Real Madrid,” added Campbell.
“The best football in the world now is being played in Spain. The most exciting football is the Premier League but the best football is in Spain.”
International success eluded Campbell during his career, although the former England defender racked up 73 caps and played in six consecutive major tournaments. He believes Euro 2016 could prove a fruitful venture for the Three Lions.
“We’ve got an exciting team with confidence. I think going forward we’re fantastic. We’ve just got to watch out what’s going on behind and by behind I mean the communication between the defence and the midfield,” said Campbell. “If England can stay clear of teams like Spain and Germany, I think we could get to the final, I really do.”
Sol Campbell is a supporter of Sporting Equals. For further information: www.sportingequals.org.uk