Despite his impressive form during Costa Rica’s run to the World Cup quarter-finals, Joel Campbell has still seen his status with Arsenal for the 2014-15 season thrown up in the air this summer.
Signed by the club in August 2011, after impressing for his country at the Under-20 World Cup and 2011 Copa América, the ex-Saprissa prospect received his work permit last summer, following season-long loan spells at FC Lorient and Real Betis, but Arsene Wenger opted to send the promising striker out for a third-successive campaign abroad, in order to gain more first-team experience.
Joining Olympiacos for 2013-14, the 22-year-old played predominantly on the right wing with the Greek champions, but still managed to net 11 goals in 43 games across all competitions, including a wonder strike against Manchester United in their Champions League last-16 tie.
However, despite his excellent club and international form, rumours have persisted that Wenger is again keen to send Campbell out on loan, with a host of Premier League sides, such as Everton, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Southampton, linked to his services in recent weeks.
It’s been enough to see the 38-times capped international return to London over the past week to hold talks with the club, but there remains hope, in the form of his manager’s latest comments on the health of the club’s strike-force.
Costa Rica see you soon. On my way to fight for my dreams— Joel Campbell (@joel_campbell12) July 19, 2014
With Wenger ruling out adding another goalscorer this summer on the weekend, following the £32 million arrival of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona, there could well be room for Campbell to stake a claim to a first-team spot, though it remains to be seen how much of a chance he will get to do so in pre-season.
Aside from Sanchez, the Costa Rican will have to contend with Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud for minutes, as well as the emerging trio of Yaya Sanogo, Chuba Akpom and Serge Gnabry, though injuries could always open up opportunities.
Based on the past woes Arsenal have had in front of goal over previous campaigns, it might prove wise to keep Campbell around at least for the first-half of the 2014-15, as the club look to build on last season’s FA Cup win and challenge on all fronts.