By Chris Harris
Sol Campbell admits that a return to Arsenal would be a "dream come true".
The 35-year-old pulled on a Gunners shirt for the first time in nearly four years when he played the first half of Tuesday night's Reserve League game at West Ham. Now Campbell is hoping to put the finishing touches to a deal which would take him back to the club he left in May 2006.
It would represent a huge turnaround for the former England defender, who has not played a competitive game since making his one and only appearance for Notts County in September. Campbell has trained with Arsène Wenger's squad since he was released in December and is now on the brink of a return to the big time.
"It is a dream come true," said Campbell. "I have had a few offers, but then Arsène came in and I said 'OK, let's make it happen'. I was ecstatic, it was the best moment I have had in football for a long time.
"I was at the training ground and it was a gradual process. He was really watching me train, studying me and seeing how I was. They put certain sessions on and they all talk, from the physios to the fitness guys to the manager. They had a massive dossier on me!
"I am desperate to play, I want to play football and being away from the game has really got me going. It has revitalised me. I am fresh and I am ready."
Campbell slotted in seamlessly at Upton Park on Tuesday night, helping Arsenal ease into a two-goal lead before he was substituted at half-time. So did it feel strange to wear those Arsenal colours again?
"No, I feel very comfortable with it, very comfortable," he said. "It was fantastic. It was just great to be out there, feeling my way around. It has been a long time, seven months for a proper game anyway. This is great, I can't believe it really.
"I realised that a deal could happen probably about two or three weeks ago. I wasn't shocked because I was training hard. Arsène is a very clever man when it comes to football and I think he just saw my determination and the staff as well. Everybody chipped in and he obviously takes time to make a decision.
"If it all comes off, I have got to repay that faith and whenever I play I need to contribute and help out. It's a long season and there are big games coming up."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source