Arsenal FC: Comprehensive Joel Campbell Real Betis Loan Report

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJune 6, 2013

Photo via ReaBetisBalompie.es
Photo via ReaBetisBalompie.es

If Real Betis get their way, Arsenal loanee Joel Campbell will stay on loan until his contract with the Gunners runs out. 

Adam Boyle, a season ticket holder at Real Betis and a writer at Forever Betis, tells me via email that Campbell has settled into life at Seville after a tough start. 

"The club, his teammates and fans have clearly responded to his friendly personality," says Boyle. "It's certainly a positive."

In other words, don't act like Nosa and you'll be fine: 

Gone are the days of big-money players like Denílson, Finidi George, Rafael Sóbis, Sergio García and Ricardo Oliveira gracing the Benito Villamarín.

Instead, Betis management bargain hunt like a coupon addict, an ordinary mode of operation for most La Liga clubs, hoping major teams like Arsenal are willing to relinquish a player of Campbell's quality on loan. 

Betis' second best player behind the talismanic Rubén Castro was Dorlan Pabón, on loan from Parma but his future was with Monterrey, which enabled Betis to take advantage of the Colombian's pit stop. 

If Damien Comolli, an ardent believer in a sabermetrics approach to football, ran Betis, he would have sent Campbell back to Arsène Wenger.  

  • 21 percent shooting accuracy. 
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  • Fails to convert 93.9 percent of goalscoring opportunities.
  • Loses the ball 71 percent of time he attempts a dribble.
  • 0.7 shots created per league game. 
  • Gives away possession 32.6 percent of the time he attempts a pass.

Numbers don't lie, but without knowing the context behind Campbell's situation, which is complex, it would be foolhardy to draw conclusions on his future just by his statistics, which are cringeworthy. 

Ben Hardman, a writer for Inside Spanish Football and a Bético, gave Campbell a seven when asked to rate his season out of 10. 

"He would have scored more highly if he would have been around a bit more," Hardman tells me via email. "Particularly during the start of the season when he seemed to be jetting off every other week to the Americas to play for Costa Rica."

"At times it has caused moments of tension because the club could see that his role in the squad this season was really important," says Hardman, as he outlined Betis' frustration with the Costa Rican Football Federation. "Jet-lag has no doubt had an impact on Campbell."

In the span of 17 days earlier in the year, Campbell flew from Seville to Valencia to Seville to Colorado to San José and then back to Seville. 

Campbell made five tackles and intercepted three passes against Deportivo La Coruña last December and dropped his defensive productivity towards the end of the season. 

He may have been gassed out, hence why he had 12 successive sub-affected league games to finish the campaign. 

Former Levante manager Luis García once shrugged his shoulders before explaining why he couldn't provide any in-depth statistical analysis of his players, via Sid Lowe at The Guardian: "Everytime I turn it on [ProZone], it costs €3,000 and we haven't got €3,000."

The faith Betis manager Pepe Mel has shown in Campbell, amidst the Costa Rican's inconsistency, illustrates that the 50-year-old coach, whose contract at Betis was extended to 2017, is primarily basing his judgement with the eye-test as opposed to number-crunching. 

Back in 1981, Betis scouts didn't have access to ProZone nor did the term "Soccernomics" exist. 

They saw Poli Rincón, who didn't make the grade at Real Madrid, and thought "we have ourselves a player."

He later won the Pichichi and established himself as one of Betis' greatest ever players. 

Lorient manager Christian Gourcuff had the same view as Mel when Campbell finished his loan spell, even though the Costa Rican scored three times from 41 shots, via Naim Beneddra and David Lynch at Goal.com

It would be wonderful if he could rejoin us on loan, but I doubt it. They released him because he did not have his work permit in England.

I don't have a concern about him as he is a boy who listens. 

He is a very promising young player, promised with a very great future. 

Wellington Silva, Arsenal's Brazilian Wunderkind, played 39 minutes for Levante and for successive seasons, but he hasn't made an impression in the Segunda División with Alcoyano and Ponferradina. 

Campbell hasn't hit a roadblock like Wellington nor has the Costa Rican been plagued with injuries like Ryo Miyaichi. 

These are growing pains for Campbell, who's adjusting to the physical and emotional burden of flying in and flying out for Costa Rica, knowing it's putting him at a disadvantage for Betis.

Former Arsenal player Carlos Vela's claim to fame was through the national team, but since turning his back on Mexico, he's found a new lease on life with Real Sociedad.

This could be the same case for Campbell and if he doesn't make it with the Gunners, he's certainly secured a future with Betis.

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Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.comFox Soccer and Squawka.com

Allan Jiang is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations in this article were obtained via email interview. 

Adam Boyle, Forever Betis writer, email interview conducted on June 2, 2013.

Ben Hardman, Inside Spanish Football writer, email interview conducted on June 3, 2013.