LONDON: Former England defender Sol Campbell appeared on the verge of rejoining Arsenal on a free transfer after playing a trial match for the Gunners’ reserve team on Tuesday.
The 35-year-old Campbell has been without a club since leaving Notts County in September but has kept fit by training with the club he left more than three years ago.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said last week that Campbell was still good enough to play in the Premier League.
The centreback played the first 45 minutes at West Ham after the club obtained reserve team registration. It was his first appearance in Arsenal colours since the 2006 Champions League final. He has since played for Portsmouth and Notts County.
Campbell had looked set to join League Championship leader Newcastle after walking out on fourth-tier club Notts County but may instead bolster Arsenal’s unexpected challenge for the English title.
The Gunners are third in the Premier League with 42 points, just three fewer than leader Chelsea.
Wenger has long been rumoured to be seeking to bolster his young squad with an experienced signing.
Former Arsenal players Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry had both been linked with returns to the club, with Vieira eventually joining Manchester City this month and Henry remaining at Barcelona.
Campbell won two Premier League titles with Arsenal after joining from fierce north London rival Tottenham in 2001.
He left in June 2006 following a season in which he missed 10 weeks of action after leaving the stadium at halftime following his poor performance and substitution against West Ham.
But Campbell still made it to that year’s World Cup for a sixth straight appearance in a major international tournament, and Arsenal fans voted him the club’s 15th best ever player two years later.
He joined Portsmouth and helped the club win the 2008 FA Cup as captain. He left when his contract expired in July 2009 and made just one appearance for Notts County. - AP