Thirty-seven-year-old defender Sol Campbell is being lined up for a short-term comeback by Championship club Derby County.
The Rams’ boss Nigel Clough sees the veteran’s experience as key in the club’s battle to reach the play-offs, and is keen to bring the former Tottenham, Arsenal, Portsmouth and England defender to Pride Park until the end of the season in both a playing and coaching role.
Campbell was last seen at Newcastle United last season, and although he disappointed there he has been searching for a club ever since his release from Alan Pardew’s side. He is known to be keen to carry on playing for at least another six months, and although he has received offers from abroad it is believed that he finds the opportunity of coaching Derby’s youngsters tempting.
One of the finest centre-backs of his generation, Campbell hit the headlines in 2001 when becoming one of the first players to exploit the new Bosman rule in moving from Tottenham to fierce rivals Arsenal for no fee. A mainstay in his country’s defence for over a decade, he played in every one of England’s major tournaments between 1996 and 2006.
Derby – who are also set to sign the Sunderland forward Ryan Noble on loan this week – would see Campbell as cover for first-choice centre-back pairing Shaun Barker and Jason Shackell, but it is the defender’s influence off the field which has attracted Clough to the idea of the surprise move.
The club are currently eighth in the Championship and just two points off a play-off place, and Clough feels that Campbell’s knowhow could help inspire them to a strong second half of the season.