Joel Campbell Deserves Chance To Impress In England… But Maybe Not At Arsenal… Yet



Joel Campbell has a bit of talent. After his explosive performance against Uruguay in Costa Rica’s opening World Cup tie, everyone could see that.

Arsene Wenger spotted that talent back in 2011, when he signed the youngster up from Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa. But since then the forward was been sent out on loan three times to three different leagues, in three different countries. The idea behind the loan deals was for Campbell to get used to European football, get first team experience and for him to obtain a work permit (which he obtained last summer).

Firstly he went to Ligue 1 in France, joining FC Lorient. His spell with Lorient wasn’t golden but he managed to get games under his belt. After a good showing at the Copa America, the French side had high expectations. Unfortunately Campbell just couldn’t meet those expectations, having an average season at best. But at the time Campbell was still a teenager and playing abroad for the first time.

He would then take in a season in Spain signing for Real Betis. Again like his first loan move in France, the striker wasn’t prolific. As a player who possess both strength and pace he was often deployed on the wings. The same can be said for a lot of young, raw forwards such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry. But when you switch a younger player’s position too much then they can become inconsistent.

The youngster was then off to play for Olympiacos. In Greece, Campbell would add a few more goals to his game. He notched up eight strikes in the Greek Super League. He also managed to grab a hatful of assists too. But it was his performance and goal against Manchester United in the Champions League that gained him attention once again with his parent club and their supporters.

With his goal, assist and overall game-play against the Uruguayans, Arsenal fans were again asking Wenger to bring the twenty-one year old back to Arsenal and give him a chance.

The Gunners boss has now said that he will give Joel a chance to impress this summer…

‘He will definitely come back to us for pre-season,’

 ‘He is maturing well.’

To be honest this is the best plan of action. Bring him back for some summer training and involve him in a few friendlies and see how much he has improved over the past three years.

If after that initial assessment Wenger decides he still needs to improve on certain facets to his game, then loan him out again. But this time loan him to another English Premier League side. That is the big test for the boy now. Arsenal need to find-out if he can do well in the EPL and if he won’t get his chances at the Emirates, then see if he can do well for a season at Everton, Newcastle or a decent mid-table side.

If Wenger does decide that Campbell is up to the task of being an Arsenal player next term then he needs to let Yaya Sanogo go out on loan. The two youngsters can’t vie for a spot together at this stage (Arsenal will bring in more attackers), one needs to be away playing more football while the other challenges for a spot in the Gunners first team.

Arsene is quite correct, when stating that the international frontman has been ‘maturing well’.

His work-rate against the Uruguayan side was exceptional. He took his goal with great aplomb and he would often chase down loose balls on either flank. He would hold onto the ball and didn’t lose his discipline when the opposition decided to bring in the dirty tactics. Campbell became the Costa Rican’s beacon of sense and responsibility, often taking the ball into the corner flag and telling his compatriots to calm down. His pass for the nations third goal was absolutely sensational.

I was also very impressed with his comments after the game. His praise for his teammates was refreshing to hear from one so young…

‘Today was excellent for me but it would have come to nothing without the contribution of my colleagues,’ 

‘Everyone lived up to their responsibilities. I tried to do my best to score goals and my colleague supported me.’

Costa Rica deserved their 3-1 victory over the much fancied Uruguay side and that was down in no small part to Joel Campbell, who now has ten goals in thirty-four caps.

Italy and England now await for ‘La Sele’. Those two games will be great games to gauge just how far Campbell has really matured. If he can proved to be a handful in those two battles then he will definitely go back to Arsenal brimming with confidence and ready to give the Premier League a fair go!

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