Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has admitted that he turned down loan offers for Joel Campbell during the summer as the Frenchman knew he would feature more regularly this season, the Mirror reports.
The Costa Rica international forward joined the Gunners in 2011 but spent the following three seasons out on loan at four different clubs across Europe, including two in Spain.
Despite maturing into quite a handy forward, Campbell struggled for playing time last season and there was talk of another loan spell in store over the summer for the current campaign.
Wenger, however, opted against allowing him to leave for a fifth time, and has revealed that he turned down offers as he knew Campbell was ready to feature more regularly in the first-team set-up.
“This season I did not want to give him out because he has a genuine team attitude and he is a fighter. We had offers to loan him out but I am very keen to keep him here,” the Mirror quotes the Arsenal boss as saying.
“He has to see competition week in, week out. He went to Lorient, Olympiacos and Villarreal and he has learned how hard life is at the top level. Now he is ready – and he is still young.”
Campbell, 23, has profited greatly from the current injury crisis in North London as he has deputised for the likes of Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck.
Despite some supporters holding reservations over his ability, the former Saprissa star has performed well and scored his first Premier League goal for the club in the 3-0 win at Swansea City.
It will be interesting to see how much he features once Arsenal’s attacking players return from injury, but so far he is doing his chances of maintaining a first-team spot no harm at all.