What Does The Future Hold For Joel Campbell At Arsenal?

Joel Campbell has been an Arsenal player since he signed from Costa Rican club Deportivo Saprissa back in 2011, however has made very limited appearances due to work permit issues that have seen him loaned out to clubs in each of the three previous seasons in order for him to gain crucial experience and game time. He joined Lorient in 2011, Real Betis in 2012 and spent last season at Olympiakos where he started to make a name for himself with some impressive performances in the Champions League for the Greek Champions. Campbell came to prominence in the first leg of the last 16 where he scored a fantastic goal against Manchester United which saw Olympiakos take a 2-0 lead to Old Trafford.

Campbell is a very versatile attacker who can play Centre Forward, on either side of a front three or just behind in the infamous “No.10” role. The 22 year old has many attributes needed to succeed at the top level, he is quick, skillful, creative and has a good eye for goal as he showed in his only competitive start for Arsenal which saw him score in the Emirates cup annihilation of Benfica in a 5-1 win. He introduced himself to the Arsenal faithful with a sumptuous volley from 20 yards out which left the Benfica Keeper Artur rooted.

Campbell had a fantastic showing at the Summer’s World Cup with Costa Rica being one of many surprise packages including the emergence of Chile, Columbia and Mexico, Campbell scored Costa Rica’s first goal in a World Cup which saw them run out eventual 3-1 victors, in that game Campbell showcased everything he has to offer, pace, creativity and goals. Going into every World Cup there are exciting young prospects that emerge and Campbell definitely falls into that category.

Arsene Wenger has been quick to suggest that Campbell is very much a part of his plans this season at the Emirates however, there have been many rumours that the Striker had been hoping for a move as he has struggled to get game time, he has only started once in the Emirates Cup and been used sparingly as a substitute. It was reported that he was offered by Arsenal as a makeweight in a deal to bring in Benfica holding Midfielder William Carvalho which was rejected by Sporting Lisbon, if accepted this would have seen Campbell go on loan to the Portuguese side. Not much has come from Campbell’s corner regarding this but it has been reported that the player has been left frustrated at not being able to leave on loan as he wants first team Football, something he does not believe will happen at the Emirates this campaign. Arsenal have refused to clarify whether there was any serious interest in Carvalho so we will have to see what fallout comes from this or maybe some interest will be shown come January.

So where does this leave Campbell? the boy undoubtedly has real talent and with the injury to Olivier Giroud now would be the time to impress, he would have been upset at the arrival of England International Danny Welbeck but he needs to show Wenger what he can do. He can not go anywhere until January at the earliest so he needs to get his head down and work hard for the team. In the build up to deadline day Wenger was quizzed constantly about bring another Striker on board, he always refuted the need for additions naming Campbell among the candidates to deputise for Giroud and the apparent refusal of a loan move just goes to show Wenger wants him around the first team, this coming from a manager who has never been shy in allowing players to leave on loan or otherwise.

Giroud is expected to be on the sidelines up til at least the Christmas period and it would be astonishing if Campbell has not played any part in proceedings leading up til then, I would expect him to feature heavily in the league Cup which has always been a good grounding for Arsenal in respect of introducing younger players and being a showcase for what a player can do. There will also be the FA Cup at the tail end of the year and the new year. Campbell has competition if he is to nail down a first team place from the returning Lukas Podolski who was convinced to stay at least another year, Alexis Sanchez, Yaya Sanogo and new arrival Danny Welbeck. Now as an integral period for Campbell who can go one of two ways, he can either sulk and wait it out until January or he can do what I hope he does and fights for his place.




  1. francis arulanandam

    September 7, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I feel very sorry for Campbell. Why doesn’t give him a chance like he has given Sanogo so many times. I feel he has a lot of potential to score goals.

  2. Andy Rees

    September 7, 2014 at 9:46 am

    I agree completley I thought after he grabbed his goal against Benfica he would have got a lot more game time. I don’t understand Wenger’s odd allegiance to Sanogo Campbell has a bit of everything. Unfortunately with the arrival of Welbeck I can only see Campbell dropping further down the pecking order.

  3. Patrick Ssekatawa

    September 7, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I also hope Campbell gets down to business and works hard in order that he forces his way into the team. There are two problems here though: First, it looks like he has a very bad agent who can never let the player concentrate on his football by hawking him everywhere. Going by his comments about a reported interest from Benfica and the Portuguese side’s reported deadline-day bid, I’m sure h talked Campbell into wanting to move out on loan so the he (agent) gets a few thousands of pounds to quench his seemingly insatiable ego. If he thought his client would come from his loan at Olympiacos AND WALK STRAIGHT into the Arsenal first team, then he must perhaps have mistaken Arsenal for a mid-table team like Stoke or something like that!

    Second, Arsene Wenger. It seems to me that Wenger has very little regard for Campbell. there were games where I felt Campbell could have had a great impact coming of the bench, and Wenger kept the Costa Rican immovably on the substitutes bench and brought on the wrong player. For example, in the game against Leicester City, I thought there needed pace and fresh legs to be injected in as Leicester looked to be tiring especially in the last quarter of the game, and Campbell to me w’d’ve been the right player to come on, Wenger instead brought on Podolski who was clearly unfit. He did absolutely nothing! His introduction, I thought, was more due to him being the senior player to Campbell than what he could do, mirroring Wenger’s decision to take the Ox off for Andrei Arshavin against Man United a few seasons ago, despite the young Englishman being Arsenal’s best player on the day by a mile.

    It also baffled me to see Sanogo start against Leicester. If it were me I would start Campbell up top, because for me Campbell is by far the better player, with more pace, more power, more exposure at all levels, more trickery, more mobility, more versatility and definitely more creativity. Give Campbell more minutes Wenger!!!

  4. eluo

    September 7, 2014 at 10:52 am

    His chance will com so he better be prepared to grab it. I do wonder, however, how he could have been offered to Benfica as make weight for William Carvalho who is a Sporting Lisbon player.

  5. Andy Rees

    September 7, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    yea I noticed that massive error, my bad I was writing it half asleep still. lol

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