After spearheading Costa Rica’s phenomenal run to the quarter-finals of the World Cup, Joel Campbell will have felt as though he has done enough to earn a chance at Arsenal.
But the young striker could be on his way out of the Emirates once again on loan this summer, as the Gunners are reportedly keen on bolstering their forward ranks again with another big-money signing.
According to Enrico Passarella of GianlucaDiMarzio.com, Arsene Wenger has cited Shakhtar Donetsk’s Brazilian winger Douglas Costa as a player who can inject even more creativity into the Gunners’ frontline. The report goes onto say if he was to make the switch to the Emirates, Campbell may make a temporary move to AC Milan.
This news would surely be a blow for 22-year-old Campbell, who not only shone at the World Cup, but has impressed in loan spells with Olympiakos last season—scoring a stunning goal against Manchester United in the Champions League—and with Real Betis the campaign before that.
Here’s some of the best bits from his time on loan:
Despite Campbell’s indisputable progression during his two spells away from the Emirates, it appears Wenger doesn’t think he is quite ready to make an impression on the first team. Subsequently, a move for Douglas seems to be on the cards.
According to Metro, the 23-year-old forward is keen for a move away from Shakhtar due to the volatile political situation in Ukraine and Wenger looks set to give him the opportunity to move to the Premier League. Indeed, the player recently refused to return to Ukraine because of the current political landscape, as noted here by African football expert Oluwashina Okeleji:
Shakhtar Donetsk attacking midfielder Douglas Costa has refused to travel back to Ukraine because of political unrest in the region.— Oluwashina Okeleji (@oluwashina) July 23, 2014
Here’s a taster of what Gunners supporters could look forward to should they acquire the Brazilian:
While Campbell is an undeniably capable player, at this stage of his career he wouldn’t be able to provide quite the same cutting edge or creative output as Douglas. The Brazilian has a lot more guile to his game than the dynamic and occasionally erratic Costa Rican, something that will surely appeal to Wenger as he looks to build a side capable of challenging for the title.
Nonetheless, Campbell’s compatriot Paulo Wanchope thinks the Costa Rican’s performances in both the Champions League and the World Cup are enough to warrant Wenger considering him as an option next season, per the Telegraph (h/t ESPN):
I'm sure that Arsene Wenger will have a look at him.
He will improve and he is capable of playing up front or on the sides so he will do well.
Campbell’s pace, power and clinical finishing will have certainly made Arsenal supporters sit up and take note during the the World Cup, but the prospect of Douglas linking up with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in the Arsenal attack is a much more tantalising prospect.
The Brazilian has been superb for the Ukrainian side after making the switch from Gremio in 2010. And after winning every domestic honour possible with Shakhtar, perhaps now would be the best time for him to follow in the footsteps of players like Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Fernandinho by leaving Ukraine and joining up with a European juggernaut.
Douglas would do plenty to stoke title aspirations for Arsenal supporters, and if it’s a straight choice between him and Campbell, the superior creative instincts of the Brazilian leaves the Costa Rican trailing. He’s a player who shone in the Champions League for the Ukrainians too, as noted here by WhoScored:
Douglas Costa: Was Shakhtar Donetsk's highest-rated player in the Champions League last season, with an average rating of 7.36— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 23, 2014
But Campbell is no cast-off, and after shelling out in excess of £50 million already this summer, Wenger may look at strengthening other areas of his squad—most notably the defensive aspect of his midfield—before spending what would undoubtedly be big money on another attacking player.
What should Wenger do?
Campbell has waited and waited for his chance at Arsenal. He wouldn’t be a regular starter by any means, but with the Gunners likely to challenge for trophies on four fronts, there should be ample chances for Campbell to make an impression on the first team, especially when you consider he is comfortable through the middle and on either flank.
If the money is there for a player like Costa, Wenger should refrain from spending it. Instead, he should back a young player that is desperate to impress before bolstering the central midfield with a dominant, physical presence. Do that, and this rounded, hungry Gunners squad will be perfectly primed for a title tilt.