Harry Redknapp would have signed Sol Campbell in a flash if he had been the boss of any club other than Tottenham.
But the Spurs boss admitted it would be 'impossible' to bring the former England international back to White Hart Lane after the manner in which he left eight years ago.
Campbell, 34, saw out his Spurs contract before joining north London rivals Arsenal on a free transfer, a decision for which Tottenham fans have never forgiven him.
No way back: Sol Campbell in action for Tottenham in 2000
The former England international, who played under Redknapp at Portsmouth, is due to be unveiled at League Two side Notts County this afternoon after his reported £60,000-a-week wage demands proved too high for top flight clubs.
Redknapp said: 'I'll be honest with you, if I wasn't at Tottenham, if I was at any other Premier League cub, I would've took Sol Campbell.
'I think he's still a fantastic player. Anybody looking for a centre-half, I'd have took him without any problem at all because he's still that good.
'He's still, in my opinion, [one of the] top six central defenders in the Premier League so, for Notts County to get him in that division is just incredible.'
Top Gunner: Campbell celebrates his goal for Arsenal in the 2006 European Cup final against Barcelona
Speaking ahead of Wednesday's Carling Cup second round match at Doncaster, Redknapp said he could make up to nine changes to the side that beat West Ham 2-1 on Sunday.
New signing Peter Crouch, Roman Pavlychecnko, Jamie O'Hara, Alan Hutton and David Bentley are some of the players likely to start against the Championship team.
The Spurs boss said: 'I respect Doncaster. Shaun O'Driscoll's done a great job, but I've got players I need to play. They need to play. And some of the others need a rest.
Sol Campbell and Harry Redknapp
Happy days: Sol Campbell and Harry Redknapp celebrate winning the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008
'The other players are all top players - it's up to them to come and do the job. I will make lots of changes but it will still be a very, very strong team.'
Redknapp insisted reports linking Luka Modric with a move to Manchester United, with Michael Carrick returning to Spurs as part of the deal, were purely speculative and denied making inquiries for Portsmouth goalkeeper David James or Chelsea winger Joe Cole.
'Cole's a fantastic player but he's not coming to Tottenham. He's at Chelsea and he's going to stay at Chelsea,' he said.
Colourful career: Sol Campbell looks set to leave Portsmouth for Notts County
'Any team would like Joe in their team but he's not a player that I've even made a 'phone call about because I don't think it's possible to get him. He belongs to Chelsea.
'We're not looking desperately for anything, really. We're pretty much OK. If someone came along we felt would change the team a bit and improve us then we might be interested but I haven't got anyone on the horizon who we're close to doing at all.'
Redknapp also urged fans not to get carried away with Spurs' unbeaten start to the season, but said Champions League qualification remains the club's aim.
'You've got to be optimistic. There's no reason we can't do it. We don't fear anybody, we can play against anybody.
'We've had a great start and we've got to keep believing we can push on and try and get into that top four. That's the aim. It's going to be tough, but it's certainly something that's not impossible.'