Joel Campbell has seen some action for the Gunners lately, and he even managed to score a goal in his first Premier League start back in October. With the team faltering in November and dealing with some injuries at the same time, he’s had the chance to turn that initial success into a meaningful impression. The results have been mixed, but it’s safe to say at this point that Campbell has factored in enough to stick around in Arsene Wenger’s rotation moving forward.
On the subject, Wenger recently made comments revealing that he received numerous loan offers for the Costa Rican striker over the summer, but he turned them all down this time around. Campbell has spent a great deal of time on loan since signing with Arsenal in 2011, but Wenger claimed he was keen to keep Campbell in London this season because Campbell is a fighter and has a genuine attitude. Perhaps even more significantly, Wenger noted that the young forward was going through a learning curve and needed to see action week in and week out. That certainly doesn’t mean Wenger will put Campbell’s development before the success of the team, but it does seem to indicate that a few appearances could turn into many more.
The idea of a prolonged look for Campbell would also address what many people viewed as the main reason behind the slumps of the 2014/15 campaign for Arsenal. Amid rumours that a few Turkish clubs were interested in pursuing Campbell during the January transfer window, it was recently suggested that the depth provided by Campbell could be essential over the course of a full EPL season. It was proved last season that relying too heavily on Giroud and Sanchez to score goals without reliable bench options was costly, and the same could become true later this season. Keeping Campbell around and giving him a real chance to get up to speed can help mitigate that concern.
But what exactly all of this means for the near future is still unclear. Right now, it’s easier to imagine Campbell being relegated to a bench role once more than to envision him carving out a regular role in the top XI. But it seems like a relatively sure thing that he’ll remain on the first team. If he keeps getting match experience, he could become a very viable offensive reserve for the latter half of the EPL season.
Read more about Wenger’s thoughts on the 23-year-old striker at Telegraph.co.uk.