Arsene Wenger refused to let Joel Campbell leave the club during the last transfer window, insisting that the Costa Rican is a fighter and still has a place at Arsenal, as reported by ESPN.
Campbell was phenomenal at the World Cup last summer, and consequently attracted the attention of a number of clubs. Wenger blocked any potential exit for the 23-year-old however, much to the annoyance of the player’s agent (via The Evening Standard).
The manager claims he was doing what was best for the team, and Campbell gives us another option in our forward line.
“At the end of the day, you decide what’s best for the team,” Wenger said (vis ESPN).
“[Aaron] Ramsey is coming back, of course, Alexis Sanchez being there, but it’s good to move Ramsey inside during a game and give Campbell the opportunity as well.
“This season I didn’t want to give him out because he has a genuine team attitude and he’s a fighter.
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“What you want from him is to bring more offensively when he played and recently he has shown when he is confident he can produce the offensive quality as well being reliable on the team attitude.
“He’s a fighter so that’s great for us. I smelt something with him that is very interesting.
“The other night he has a positive attitude, he was not only playing safe.”
Campbell has enjoyed mixed success at Arsenal so far, and after struggling for game time early on he got a run in the team thanks to injuries to several players. He hasn’t looked of the required calibre to play for Arsenal, but there are definite qualities visible.
He really didn’t make the most of his spell in the side, which is why Ramsey has come straight back into the team and replaced him on the right. And with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also back in the squad too, Campbell could struggle for game time once again.
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It’s hard to see Campbell having any type of long-term future at the club, but in the absence of any other options this season, we’re lucky he was available during our injury plagued period.