Should Arsenal have kept Joel Campbell as backup striker?

Arsenal fans were shocked to learn that Joel Campbell had been sent out on loan this summer, after what had been an impressive year for the Costa Rican. Campbell had done well for the Gunners in the previous campaign, managing to grab important goals and assists along the way, but despite his best efforts, Campbell was still restricted to a squad player position rather than being a first teamer.

Seeing the likelihood of his frustrations continuing at Arsenal this year, with a position on the bench or out of the match day squad altogether being more than likely, Campbell requested to be sent out on loan for this season. He subsequently joined Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon on a season long loan and even managed to get on the scoresheet for his new this weekend in a 3-0 win. It posed the question to me that, although it would be risky to pick him as a regular starter for Arsenal in this position, could Joel Campbell have done a job as a striker for Arsenal?

Of course this question isn’t raised upon the basis of him scoring a single goal in the Portuguese league, Campbell did of course manage to get on the scoresheet for Arsenal four times for the Gunners last season, all of which were relatively important goals in proceedings of the match. Not to forget that he was largely limited to substitute appearances and even if he wasn’t scoring, his influence on play certainly helped the team forward. If he had gotten more playing time, then perhaps the number of goals would have increased.

But say if Arsenal hadn’t spent money on securing Lucas Perez, could Campbell have played backup to Giroud until Welbeck returned from injury? If Sanogo is able to keep a spot as a striker at Arsenal, then surely Campbell is capable of doing the same and even if Joel wasn’t to play as a striker, with Theo or Alexis up top instead of Giroud, that would mean there would be a position on the wing available for Campbell to take up.

Of course there’s no chance in changing the state of Campbell’s position this season. The Costa Rican will remain out on loan in Portugal, but it just got me thinking that we’ve seen that Joel has the speed, the fight and the desire to push his way past defenders and so perhaps the idea of trying Campbell up front rather than being crowded on the wings, doesn’t seem as silly as it may sound.

Could Campbell have had a go at being a backup striker at Arsenal?



  1. mohawk says:

    Campbell should have been kept as a winger. He performs consistently better than Ox and Walcott on the wing.

    This Campbell decision was not based on ability. It was based strictly on Wenger favoritism. And Campbell knew he was not a Wenger favorite so he welcomed the loan to further his career. He just wanted to play.

    1. SeamonkeyUK says:

      Totally agree, I can see him being sold by Wenger and then making a big money transfer in a couple of years to a big club. Hopefully he will shine for Lisbon and Wenger will change his mind about him or Wenger leaves and the new manager keeps him. He gave a lot last season and deserved to play more than he did. Wenger has lost the plot, he picks a team of players he likes not what’s best for Arsenal. He proved that against PSG.

    2. josh37 says:

      Do you not think either Theo or Ox will step up this season?
      I get the Campbell praise, I really do. But I don’t get how people don’t accept his limitations as a player. Theo may be far more inconsistent and Ox is terribly out of form. But they are far more dangerous players than Campbell. Personally, if Theo can stay fit I think he’s going to surprise a lot of fans this season.

      1. TH14-TW14 says:

        Many here like to hate on Walcott but when you get down to hard figures he hasn’t done badly. There are only few players in our clubs history and English football who have scored more than him playing primarily as wingers. He’s 86 goals in an Arsenal career plagued by injuries. Many are quick to say he’s played here for 10 years but in reality the first 3 was as a teenager still learning his trade coming on for cameos and cup games. He may not be skillful or consistent but to berate him daily is very nauseating. It’s funny when people say that Chamberlain or Campbell is better. They may dribble better and control the ball better but he beats them (and most wingers in the EPL) hands-down when it comes to goal scoring. The statistics is their and clearly says so

  2. butters says:

    Wengers last best winger is Hleb.

    Sanchez is not a winger!

  3. Henryesk says:


    Can Campbell finish? Yes
    Can he link up play? Yes
    Can he hold up the ball? Yes
    Can he run in behind? Yes

    Has Wenger played him down the middle? No!

    Now I’m not saying Campbell was the answer to our striker problems by any means.. But he did a good job for Costa Rica at the World Cup and he seems to have all the attributes. If anyone saw his debut goal for sporting it came from him running off the shoulder of the last defender and finishing with an acrobatic header..

    He deserved a chance.

  4. stubill says:

    I just don’t get the love in for Campbell. Yes he’s a willing runner (so was Forest Gump), but all the running actually produces next to nothing.

    If you look at his stats they’re really not that impressive, he’s one of those players that flatters to deceive.

  5. Gworm says:

    I’m surprised every time I read that Campbell has ‘speed’. Every time I’ve seen him in a foot race with a defender he looks as if he’s floundering through treacle. Does anyone have his clock speed?
    Having said this I think he was badly treated toward the end of last season. I like his contribution to the team and I feel that given time he would have been really valuable if only Wenger could rotate properly.
    As a striker? We’ve never seen him play this role for Arsenal, so who knows?

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