If there is one player that I really respect for the way he carries himself, it is Joel Campbell. Having been acquired by Arsenal at such an early age, he was shipped out on loan to FC Lorient after failing to obtain a work permit in England. The next year he went on loan to Real Betis and even after obtaining a work permit in 2013, he still went out on loan to Olympiakos.
Let us pause and think about that for a moment…an 18 year old from Costa Rica forced to play in different countries, learn different cultures, with of course a language barrier to contend with, no one to take him under his wing and shelter him the way only Wenger can…who would have blamed Campbell if he had become a mess?
Instead he has kept his cool, worked hard for his adopted teams and even became a crucial member of the Olympiakos team scoring a wonder goal against Manchester United in the Champions league and doing a very decent job of leading the line for his national team in the World Cup.
His reward for all his hard work…a place on the bench in favour of under performing players! Who said life is fair? Now, not only does he have to contend with the likes of Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, Walcott and Sanchez but also Sanogo when he comes back as well as a certain 19 year old known as Chuba Akpom who is holding Arsenal at ransom stalling on a new deal in order to be guaranteed games next season.
Credit to Joel Campbell who has never publicly condemned the way he has been treated at Arsenal and writing a nice farewell message to the Arsenal fans after securing a loan move to Villareal. If there is one thing Campbell wanted more than anything, it was to showcase what he could do in Arsenal shirt. There is only one way this will happen…if he does well at Villareal and Chuba Akpom does not sign a new contract with Arsenal. All I can do is wish Joel Campbell good luck with his loan spell and hope he shows Wenger what he will be missing.