The 28-year-old winger has been on loan to Russian Premier League side FC Rostov during the first half of the season, but he has now returned to the club who sold him for a fee of 17 million pounds back in 2008.
The former England international, who was once touted as a possible replacement for David Beckham on the right-hand side of midfield, has seen his career take a downwards spiral since moving on from the Lancashire club.
Appleton spoke of his interest in the midfielder earlier today, having also announced a deal to bring in Karim Rekik from Manchester City, labelling him a player who possesses "a lot of quality."
"David is a wide player, and we have been talking about wide players,” Appleton told The Lancashire Telegraph. “He has a great history with the club and a lot of quality."
Appleton was named manager of Blackburn earlier this year having moved from a brief stint with Blackpool, but he spoke of a need to make the team his own in terms of the players at his disposal.
"I think the only time I will get the feeling this is my squad is in the summer, though," Appleton said. "The squad I walked into, I recognized the balance was not right.
"I wanted to try and address that as soon as I could, but you don't get the opportunity to do that to a full extent until you have the summer."