Joel Campbell has dismissed rumours of a departure from the Arsenal and says he’s ready to fight for his place in the team, according to reports in ESPN.
The 24-year old forward joined the gunners in August 2011 from Costa Rican club Saprissa when he was 19. Since then he has enjoyed loan spells at different clubs in the three subsequent seasons without playing an official minute for Arsenal due to work permit issues.
Last season when most of our wingers including Alexis Sanchez were injured Wenger called in Campbell to fill in the void. He used this chance perfectly and started putting up great performances on both the wings.
Joel Campbell still finished his first full season with the club with four goals and six assists and endeared himself to fans with his work rate predominantly on the right wing.
After last season Campbell looked set to leave the Emirates according to several rumors published by leading news outlets. Most fans thought that he might leave this season due to lack of proper game time but Campbell seems to have other ideas. In a recent interview on his official website. Campbell said:
“I have had a good holiday and now I am happy to train, to return strong, to prepare myself well in this preseason for the new campaign for which I have high expectations and I will fight with everything to have the opportunity to play and to show what I can give.”
“Last season was my first full season with the team from start to finish and to me it was a very productive time, I played 30 games and that was very important for me and made me mature a lot. I could show what I’m made of, and at last the team and the fans were happy with what I have done.”
“There are always rumors, but I don’t talk about those things, I focus on doing my thing, which is to train day to day, to fight and to try to give my best.”
Two years ago in the 2014 FIFA World held in Brazil, Costa Rica stood as the minnows in the group of death (Group D) alongside Italy, England and Uruguay. Most pundits and news outlets predicted that Costa Rica had around 5% chance of advancing out of their group.
The main player who led to the thumping of Costa Rica’s cross-continent opponents was Arsenal forward Joel Campbell who plied his trade to Greek club Olympiacos before the World cup. Campbell played as his country’s lone centre-forward in that game and notched up a goal and an assist in the process and creating a hell lot of chances as well.
Throughout the rest of the tournament, Campbell kept impressing his country’s then manager Colombian Jose Luis Pinto and eventually guided his team to their best performance at a world cup (quarterfinal exit to Netherland). After the World Cup, his stock raised and he was touted to impress Arsenal’s French manager Arsene Wenger and maybe change into a full-time center forward.
After a phenomenal World cup as a striker or centre-forward, he came back to the Emirates with a point to prove. But that didn’t go down well again. He made a mere 9 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions during the first half of the season and couldn’t fill in the striker’s role properly. He was shipped out to Spanish club Villareal CF during the second half of the season where he enjoyed relative success as a winger.
After getting good first team opportunities due to injuries, Campbell was pushed back to the bench in spite of his amazing performances when the stars returned. Thus in spite of playing well when chances were given to him the 24-year old, only started 11 league games last season and was mostly used as a substitute during the final two months of the campaign.
Hence in spite of playing well, being sidelined by Wenger with very little opportunities doesn’t seem to dent Campbell’s hopes of making it big with Arsenal FC. Hence let’s just hope that he does go on to become a world-class gunner as he is very young and time is still on his side.