Last summer, Arsenal made the news on a consistent basis, as reports of the imminent departures of two of the clubs shining stars not only hit the media outlets, but it also gathered momentum in no time and the dreaded outcome which the Arsenal fans loathed finally came to pass. The enigmatic Spaniard Cesc Fabregas was shipped off back home to boyhood club Barcelona, while French international Samir Nasri took a train from Euston up north to join the blue half of Manchester. At that point, it was obvious that Arsene Wenger needed to beef up a squad many deemed inadequate to challenge for honours even before the two high-profile departures, and Wenger must have been in no illusions about this fact. Much was expected from Le Boss in respect to replacing these two key components in Nasri and Fabregas at the time, but Wenger chose first to buy some up and coming youngsters before eventually dipping into the transfer market on deadline day, making it one of the club’s busiest deadline days in recent memory.
Amongst the young prodigies, the shrewd Frenchman landed a certain Costa Rican export from Deportivo Saprissa. His name, Joel Campbell, born June 26th 1992.
Campbell is a left-footed forward who, at the same time of being acquired, was representing his country at the 2011 CONCACAF youth championship in Guatemala. Part of his exploits at the tournament saw him win the Golden Boot award, netting six goals in the process. His acquisition at the time seemed unneeded, as Arsenal desperately required midfielders who were creative in nature, not a player of Campbell’s calibre.
As with all foreign imports to the English league, the 19-year-old needed a work permit. Unfortunately for the Gunners, it was refused. As a result, Campbell was subsequently loaned out to FC Lorient and has since been plying his trade for the French side.
The soon to be 20-year-old Campbell is at a stage where some players are already a part of Wenger’s first-team squad. The talent of this young man is undoubted, but with the players in the Arsenal ranks with similar attributes, it is of interest to see how he will fare.
When Campbell’s tenure in Lorient ends at the end of this term, the Costa Rican will be faced with the option of either returning to his parent club, or extending his loan deal with the Ligue 1 outfit. With the former option, Joel will face competition, albeit a stiff one for playing time, contending with the likes of Robin van Persie, who is arguably our best player.
With news that Lukas Podolski on his way, chances of a starting shirt or even playing time becomes more reduced for the youngster.
Another man that will surely give Joel something to worry about is Mexican export and fellow loanee, Carlos Vela. Though Podolski’s arrival is yet to be confirmed, his arrival along with Vela, who is somewhat clamouring for a stay in Real Sociedad, will mean a direct competition for Campbell. I say this because they are all of similar qualities, with the exception of RVP of course. They are all left-footed, play in the same positions and all have pace and a knack for goals, while being able to create.