Kind of homecoming takes Campbell to Arsenal

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The Independent Football

The former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell talked to Gunners manager Arsène Wenger yesterday about returning to the club to train in a bid to regain his fitness.

Campbell walked out on Notts County last month after playing just one game despite signing a lucrative five-year deal, blaming broken promises from the fourth-tier club's management.

But the 35-year-old centre-back said yesterday that Notts County have still not released him from his contract and therefore he can't join a new club under Fifa rules.

Campbell met Wenger on the sidelines of an African education campaign launch at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium and informally spoke about using his former club's training facilities to overcome some minor fitness concerns.

Campbell was with Arsenal for five seasons after moving from their north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in 2001.

"It will be great to train here and get fit," Campbell said at the "One Goal" launch. "I've spoken to Arsène, hopefully we can get everything right and speak to the right people and get a couple of the physios and fitness guys to help me. My overall fitness is OK. But something else might happen before then."

Campbell hopes to be playing for a new club before the January transfer window opens, but didn't say how he could circumvent the rules.

"First of all I've got to get out of the contract, people have to sign papers," Campbell explained at the Emirates. "There are lots of things that have to be tied up, but I think everyone understands why. I just want to play football in the right way, but everything has to be done in the proper way. There are ways of playing before January, I'm not going to elaborate, but there are ways. Not very soon, but there are ways."

Gordon Taylor, who heads the English players' union, has pledged to help Campbell "jump through a few hoops" if they can cite exceptional circumstances.

Campbell, who has played 73 times for England, was out of contract at Portsmouth at the end of last season and surprised many by linking up with the former England coach Sven Goran Eriksson at the League Two side at the end of August.

The England midfielder David Beckham practised with Arsenal at the start of 2008 to stay fit to play for England during the MLS off-season.