Reports from Newcastle suggest Arsenal's Joel Campbell could be going out on loan for the 2014-15 season, and while such a move would seem unlikely to happen, the Gunners shouldn't even entertain the thought.
The Chronicle's Lee Ryder claims the player is "available on loan" and that the Costa Rican will be offered to the Magpies, albeit for a sizeable fee.
The report goes against a statement Arsene Wenger made after the team's friendly win over Benfica, as reported by the Daily Mail's Hamish Mackay. When asked about Campbell's performance, Wenger told the club's website he wants to keep the youngster at the Emirates:
Campbell has done very well. I like the way he plays, he's good on the ball, creative and collectively as well he has a good balance between individual skill and collective attitude - that's not easy to find. They need to play of course but they need to play here. There's no reason to let him go. I want to keep him.
The Independent's Chris Wheatley also seems convinced Campbell isn't going anywhere:
Joel Campbell, who will stay at Arsenal this season, is about to come on for the final few minutes. pic.twitter.com/I4khIGJDau— Chris Wheatley (@GoonerTalk) August 10, 2014
It wouldn't be the first time a manager denied a potential move for a player, only for said player to depart the club only a few weeks later. Campbell is 22 years old—he needs minutes to continue his development, and if Wenger doesn't believe he'll find those minutes at Arsenal, a loan is always an option.
In the case of Campbell, however, such a move seems unlikely. Wenger has treated the winger very much like a new signing, and in essence, that's what he is. Before the summer of 2014, he hadn't played a minute in the Gunners' shirt.
Campbell greatly impressed during the 2014 World Cup and put together an excellent season on loan with Olympiacos. Blessed with pace, technique and a keen eye for goal, the youngster looks ready to make his mark on a higher level.
That's not to say he's ready to be a regular starter for a top club in the Premier League—such things take time, and we won't know for sure until Campbell actually gets an extended run in the team.
But the Gunners are looking at improving on a 2013-14 season that showed much promise and eventually ended in a familiar place (fourth in the Premier League standings), and their showings in the FA Cup final and the Community Shield match indicate they're ready.
One area where Arsenal are lacking is depth in the attacking slots. Olivier Giroud and Yaya Sanogo are the two real strikers in the squad—the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Lukas Podolski can help out in that area, but they're not natural fits for Wenger's 4-2-3-1.
Campbell isn't an out-and-out striker either, but he adds a body to a group of attackers that collectively could make up for a potential extended absence of Giroud. Joined by Sanchez, Podolski and Theo Walcott, the Gunners would have a versatile group of scorers that can attack a defence in many different ways.
What is Campbell's ceiling for the 2014-15 season?
If Giroud stays healthy, Campbell adds depth and a pair of fresh legs that could be useful in late-match situations and cup fixtures. If his development continues in the same meteoric fashion, there's no reason he couldn't even push for a starting position in the near future.
Arsenal know what injuries can do to a squad. The 2013-14 season could have been so much more than it eventually became if it wasn't for an injury wave that derailed the campaign after the holiday period.
In a worst-case scenario, Campbell brings the kind of versatility that could see him line up in pretty much any of the four attacking positions. Wenger knows this, and it's one of the reasons he's made it clear he has a plan for Campbell in the upcoming season.
Fans don't want to see Campbell depart the club for yet another loan spell, and they can rest easy. Unless the Gunners decide to invest in another versatile attacker to strengthen the squad, the Costa Rican international isn't going anywhere.