Speaking to ESPN FC, former Arsenal forward Paul Mariner has called on manager Arsene Wenger to give Joel Campbell a first-team chance, amid doubts over the striker’s long-term future at the club.
Campbell, 22, was expected to be given a regular role in the side this term following his impressive World Cup showing, as well as three successive season-long loans, but has so far failed to start a Premier League game.
According to ESPN FC, the Costa Rica international’s agent has now travelled to London for showdown talks with the club, as rumours of an imminent exit, either on loan or permanent, continue to swirl.
After witnessing him star in Brazil during the summer, Mariner is disappointed with how events have unfolded in recent months, and believes the promising front man could still have a bright future at the Emirates Stadium if allowed to prove his worth.
“I don’t think they should sell him. They should give him a chance,” he said. “He had a fantastic World Cup and everyone had high hopes for him coming back to the club.
“I think the simple fact of the matter is that players are in front of him.”
A host of clubs across Europe are said to be keen to take advantage of Campell’s situation, with the Daily Mail reporting interest from Benfica, Real Sociedad, Swansea, Villarreal, and West Bromwich Albion this week.
The two Spanish clubs are considered to be the front-runners at this point, and Mariner believes a six-month stint in La Liga might be the best move if Wenger doesn’t have him in his plans.
“I just don’t think he’s going to break into Wenger’s plans at the moment so, for me, maybe a move to Real Sociedad with David Moyes on loan would suit him,” he said.
“They need to hold onto him for a little bit longer, bring him back after a loan and give him another chance.
“He’s just going to be rotting on the bench otherwise. He needs to play football.”
With Arsenal chasing Villarreal centre-back Gabriel Paulista, the likes of the Telegraph have suggested that Campbell could head to Spain as part of the deal, although it remains unclear whether that would be full-time.
Regardless, having started off the summer with such high expectations for his season in north London, he could well welcome the chance of a fresh start elsewhere.