For all of Arsenal’s well-documented transfer troubles, so to speak, in the summer window, they’ve still got a fairly cohesive unit.
Admittedly, you’d wince seeing a second string side play against a big team – whether that’s in the league or across Europe too. The team is not yet complete in terms of depth in quality, but gradually they’re getting there.
But still, the Gunners have plenty of first-team players to choose from, and rotation is not always a bad thing. Too much, can unsettle the balance.
With that in mind, it’s time to introduce a forgotten man. He’s 23, turned heads with his native Costa Rica at last summer’s World Cup, and is eagerly awaiting his chance centre-stage in north London.
Will he get it? That remains to be seen, but Joel Campbell is a wanted man. A number of clubs, both in England as well as Spain, have admitted their interest in him.
At 23-years-old, he’s still got plenty of time to develop. Sending him out on respective loans elsewhere was beneficial for his maturity, since he was playing on a regular basis. But now, he’s attempting to force his way in Wenger’s plans.
His contract expires next summer, and he’s only featured three times in all competitions since the start of the campaign. 95 minutes played, little opportunity to showcase what exactly he can offer to the team.
Predominantly a winger, who can play on either side or as a centre-forward if needs be, he adds another dimension to Arsenal’s play – but is constantly left on the substitutes’ bench on matchdays.
This is frustrating in itself, because he’s obviously got the potential to shine. Otherwise, why would we have signed him in the first place?
His agility, quick feet, acceleration and eyecatching dribbling are all attributes you’d actively seek in a good winger. Down in the pecking order and disgruntled by his lack of first-team opportunities, it’d be unsurprising if he’d left the club this past window. Valued at between £5-10m, a few clubs would have been happy to pay the fee, for a player just eager to play football in truth.
But instead of this, Wenger publicly stated his willingness to keep the player – also trusting in his quality. So evidently, he has a plan for him surely?
If the past few months are anything to go by, that’s not the case. Campbell undoubtedly has the ability, but just needs a run of games to be able to show it.
With Danny Welbeck sidelined, Olivier Giroud enduring an inconsistent spell and Theo Walcott hoping to take his own chance as the club’s centre-forward, what harm would it do to deploy Campbell on either wing?
After all, that’s the only way he’ll get to prove himself. Otherwise, sitting on the substitutes’ bench is counter-productive.