Jonathan Woodgate will take part in Real Madrid's pre-season tour to Austria, raising hopes that he may soon be ready for his debut for the club.
Woodgate, 25, signed for Mardrid in August 2004 for £13.4m, but is yet to play because of a thigh injury.
"I have complete confidence in my body, my leg and myself. I will play again," he told Spanish sports daily Marca.
Madrid are in need of defensive options after the £11m transfer of Walter Samuel to Inter Milan.
"We are optimistic that Woodgate will be our new signing," Madrid president Florentino Perez told Marca.
Also included in the 25-man Real squad for Austria were new signings, Julio Baptista, Pablo Garcia and Carlos Diogo.
Madrid's fourth new player, Brazil forward Robinho, does not arrive until 25 August.
Portugal midfielder Luis Figo and England striker Michael Owen were also selected, despite uncertainty over their futures with the club.
Madrid play Hungary in Budapest on 14 August in a testimonial for its former player Ferenc Puskas, and meet a Major League Soccer representative team in Madrid nine days later.
In July, Woodgate's doctor, Jesus Olmo, said: "He's been following a recovery programme that, frankly, he is fulfilling well.
"It's not true that there has been a relapse and we hope it remains that way."
Woodgate has travelled to Finland and America for expert treatment to try to find a solution to the problem with his right femoral muscles.