Joel Campbell: Forgotten, unwanted and Turkey-bound

Arsenal clearly forgot Costa Rica forward Joel Campbell was still on their books after leaving the Costa Rica international out of their list of players featuring in Friday’s World Cup group games.

Alex Iwobi’s Nigeria face Iceland while Granit Xhaka and Stephan Lichtsteiner’s Switzerland locked horns with Serbia. But Arsenal had forgotten Campbell’s Costa Rica side faced Brazil in the first game of the day and were forced to add the tweet to their existing update seven minutes later.

The Gunners could be forgiven for forgetting Campbell was still an Arsenal player as he hasn’t turned out for the Londoners since May 2016. The 25-year-old joined from Deportivo Saprissa in 2011 and has only made 40 appearances in all competitions.

With Cambell struggling to nail down a starting place at the Emirates, he was loaned at to FC Lorient (Ligue 1) in 2011/12, Real Betis (La Liga) in 2012/13, Olympiacos (Superleague) in 2013/14, Villarreal (La Liga) in 2014/15, Sporting CP (Primeira Liga) in 2016/17 and Real Betis again in 2017/18.

His contract is up this summer and there’s been no new deal offered to Campbell. He’s expected to leave in the coming weeks and Turkish Super Lig side Galatasary could reportedly be his next destination.

Little chance of an Arsenal return

It’s been two years since he last played for Arsenal and their attack has strengthened significantly. Campbell has a tough task dethroning the likes Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Alexandre Lacazette, Danny Welbeck, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alex Iwobi give he’s been deemed surplus to requirements for so long.

To have made just 40 appearances in seven years at Arsenal speaks volumes. Campbell hasn’t been good enough to nail down a regular spot in the first-team and will likely be released this summer as a result. The Gunners certainly won’t miss him given they’ve spent over £100m on attacking talent in the last 12 month, but Campbell’s demise is upsetting.

The 25-year-old is still only young, but his career has stagnated of late. He’s no longer commanding a starting place for Costa Rica and racked up just eight Liga appearances for Betis last season. He spent the majority of 2017/18 sidelined with a knee injury, but the attacking could turn things around at Galatasaray.

Could Gala save him?

Reports in Turkey suggest Galatasaray have been in talks with Campbell’s representatives over a summer deal. They can promise the forward Champions League football next season and are the Turkish Super Lig defending champions. He could certainly do worse than the Türk Telekom Stadium.

Arsenal forgot Campbell is still on their books as he’s made more appearances on loan at other clubs than he has at the Emirates. He’s shown fleeting moments of potential but ultimately wasn’t good enough to make the cut.

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Crippy can be found on Twitter (@CrippyCooke). He is a sports journalist who has written for the Independent, Bleacher Report, Huffington Post, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph among others. Crippy treats football gossip with a dash of cynicism and loves tearing apart outlandish rumours.

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