The Value of Joel Campbell: Is Arsenal's Forgotten Man Worth Taking a Chance On?
At 25 years of age Arsenal attacker Joel Campbell is no longer a promising youngster; he is a talented forward thinking winger with a wealth of international experience entering the prime of his playing career.
Campbell has returned to the Arsenal, with the winger sharing an image of himself back at the club. The question is should he be returning to training for the Gunners? The time might just have come for Campbell to ask himself what his next step is.
Should Campbell stay at Arsenal and compete among a range of talented midfield options for first-team football, or should he seek game time elsewhere at a club where he can be given the time to make a reputation for himself?
Campbell joined Arsenal in 2011 from Deportivo Saprissa, a Costa Rican sports club that is mostly known for its football team. After signing for the Gunners it was revealed that Campbell had failed to obtain a work permit and the player was only granted that permit two years later in 2013.
During those first two years at the Gunners, Campbell had to play his football away from the UK on loan, the midfielder featured intermittently for French side FC Lorient and Spanish side Real Betis. But it wasn't until Campbell was loaned to Greek giants Olympiacos that the player really began to make a name for himself.
At Olympiacos, Campbell managed to score a total of 11 goals in 43 appearances for the Greek side. The youngster also got on the score-sheet in Olympiacos' 2–0 win over Manchester United in the Champions League.
Despite being sent out on loan on two more occasions, Campbell did manage to force himself into Arsene Wenger's plans with a string of impressive outings in the Gunners' 2015/16 campaign.
Campbell has proven that he is a willing runner, comfortable on and off the ball, and his work rate is top class. He's a proven attacking threat and is more than capable of grabbing a goal every now and then.
The Costa Rican not only has bags of proven ability, but unlike many players at the age of 25 Campbell already got 50 caps for his national side. The winger was part of the Costa Rica side that reached the Quarter Finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which is further than any England side has got since 2006.
In this new highly inflated market, overrated wingers are selling like hotcakes. Everton have now signed Yannick Bolasie and Gylfi Sigurdsson for a combined fee of £70m, while West Ham have picked up Andre Ayew and Marko Arnautovic for a combined fee of around £45m.
With so much money being splashed on players these days, why aren't more mid-table sides circling for the Costa Rica international's signature?
Joel Campbell wasn't even as bad as people are making him out to be. Elite performance at Anfield and was instrumental in our run in.— jeremie (@aliladiere) August 21, 2017
Campbell isn't a youngster anymore and Wenger surely can't keep sending him out on loan forever. With the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alex Iwobi ahead of him in the pecking order at Arsenal, Campbell could be on his way out of club sooner rather than later.
Campbell is deserving of game time at the Arsenal, but if he's not going to get in then there should be plenty of top European clubs keen to sign him permanently. With the amount of money currently in European football, a Premier League outfit looking to climb a few spots in the league table could do far worse than signing Joel Campbell.