Sol Campbell has spoken of his return to Arsenal as he finalises a shock move back to the Emirates Stadium.
The former Gunner played 45 minutes for the club’s reserves at West Ham on Tuesday night and has done enough to convince Arsene Wenger he is worth a permanent deal.
Campbell’s last game in an Arsenal shirt came in the 2006 Champions League final, which preceded a move to Portsmouth and a brief, ill-fated spell at Notts County.
“There are still a few technicalities to iron out, but I have signed for Arsenal until the end of the season, and it’s fantastic, great, marvellous,” said Campbell. “The old enthusiasm is back.
“I’m ecstatic really to be back at Arsenal, and I have worked bloody hard to get there.”
Campbell is confident he still has what it takes to perform at the highest level.
“Arsene Wenger has been an inspiration,” he said. “He has watched me closely after letting me train at Arsenal for nearly two months now.
“He’s not stupid – he wouldn’t have taken me back if he didn’t like what he has seen, and I have worked and worked. I do believe I can contribute.
“I really have my confidence and fitness back and I believe I can make a big, big contribution.
“There is fantastic quality all around the pitch within this Arsenal team and I want to be part of it, and I will make a big push to try to do that, but it’s little steps at a time.”
The 35-year-old has been training at the Gunners’ Hertfordshire base and Campbell admitted that the prospect of a return to his former club was always going to be too good to refuse.
“There have been a few clubs, quite a bit of speculation. But going back to Arsenal – well, that is serious, and I am serious about this,” he said.
“I’ve missed it and I’ve a gut feeling this is the right move.
“It’s no longer a hunger to get back, it’s turned into a craving. I am champing at the bit. I’m fresh, I’m raring to go. It’s unbelievable to be back.”