To much surprise Arsenal’s Joel Campbell was sent out on a season long loan to Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon from the Emirates this summer. It was a decision that shocked many fans after the impressive season Campbell had with Arsenal last year, despite a limited number of appearances.
Campbell joined the Portuguese side on loan after he revealed that he couldn’t be assured of regular playing time at Arsenal and that he was disappointed not to get more games under Arsene Wenger last season, despite showing plenty of quality on the pitch. Campbell was seen to be much more impressive than the likes of Walcott and Oxlade Chamberlain last year, however the Costa Rican was unable to maintain a regular spot in the team and was often left out of match day squads all together.
Despite what seems to be an unclear rift between player and manager, it seems that Arsenal do hope to keep hold of the winger for the long term future. Many fans would be extremely disappointed to see him go, especially in similar circumstances to that of young Serge Gnabry, who left Arsenal at the end of the transfer window. I personally rate Campbell very highly, because despite not being the finished article, I think a good run of games in the team would see himself show all of the qualities that he possesses on a more consistent basis. He’s been seen to be a confident character on the pitch, even when in and out of the side, so you can only imagine his confidence if he got a regular spot on the pitch for Arsenal.
One person who agrees that Campbell is a top talent, is former Gunner and current Sporting Lisbon coach Luis Boa Morte, who after the Arsenal Legends fixture on Saturday, was keen to point out his praises of Joel Campbell. Boa Morte said:
“He’s exactly the type of player they need and he’s exactly the player Sporting Lisbon were looking for. He’s got all the qualities to play for them and as long as he does well, I’m sure we’ll be the beneficiaries here because he’ll come back an even better player. That’s the most important thing. He’s really powerful when he drives forward with the ball on the right-hand side. He’s definitely a handful for defenders.”
I am a big fan of Campbell and I think he should have gotten more of a chance under Wenger last term, especially with the under performances from the Ox and Walcott. Competition for places is however extremely high and so I can understand why he may feel that loan move would be best for him this season. At 24 years old, Campbell does still have plenty of time on his side to make a name for himself at Arsenal, but I do think Arsenal could’ve done with having his services available for this campaign.