For all the talk about Arsenal needing to buy multiple strikers this summer, Arsene Wenger would do well to give Joel Campbell a chance to prove himself at his parent club. Loaned out to various clubs around Europe since he signed for Arsenal in 2011. The story about the first loan out was that they’d failed to obtain a work permit, but as he is now almost 22 years old, it is now looking like the Costa Rican youngster might never get a chance at Arsenal.
Having only seen him play once with Olympiakos this year, I’ve always given Wenger the benefit of the doubt for not keeping Campbell around. But watching him play against Uruguay today, I firmly believe that he merits a squad number next season. At the very least, he needs to be around the first team during summer preparations, getting a feel for how Arsenal plays. His talents could prove useful in that he offers something different from all of the current Arsenal strikers.
In a strong first half against Uruguay, he was effective dropping deep to receive the ball. He was then able to turn and be direct with his subsequent play on the ball. He also showed once again he is capable of hitting an accurate shot from distance, something I’ve rarely seen Giroud or Sanogo do. His second half was even more impressive, as he showed off his passing and even some strength in the corner at the end of the game in addition to the goal. Tell me Arsenal couldn’t use a few goals like the one he scored to tie the game.
He might be a little small for a Premier League forward, but in certain games that ability to drop back and receive the ball might be a welcome change for the Gunners. Playing next to Walcott or Oxlade-Chamberlain, he’d be able to release their pace by dropping deeper and sending them on diagonal runs towards his vacated space. I noticed that Costa Rica do not even have him in the box on their corners because of his lack of height, but Arsenal do not necessarily need that from him.
I know many people think that if Wenger brings him in, it might be at the expense of buying someone else. But I’m not advocating for that. If Ryo Miyaichi is good enough to train with the first team, I would like Wenger to welcome Campbell to London this summer, giving him the fall to make an impact in the Capital One Cup. Should he fail, then loan him back out in the winter. But at least everyone could find out whether or not he could be useful. It would be unfortunate if this full international never got a chance at Arsenal. I’d rather have Campbell back than waste time on the return of Carlos Vela.
Do you want Campbell to get a chance next season? Is he good enough to play for Arsenal? Please comment below.