What Should Arsenal Do with Costa Rica Forward Joel Campbell?

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2015

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - DECEMBER 09:  Joel Campbell of Arsenal is tackled by Alex Telles of Galatasaray during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Galatasaray AS and Arsenal FC at Ali Sami Yen Arena on December 9, 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Although most of the discussion among Arsenal fans during this transfer window inevitably focuses on who Arsene Wenger might bring in, he also faces important decisions about some of the players already on his books. After four loan spells in as many years, it’s time for the Gunners boss to make up his mind about Joel Campbell.

After an impressive World Cup 2014 campaign with Costa Rica, Campbell was recalled to London last summer to join up with the first-team squad. However, after failing to find the net in his first 10 competitive outings for the Gunners, he was sent out on loan in January to Villarreal. Incredibly, his four Premier League appearances didn’t even yield a shot at goal.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02:  Joel Campbell of Arsenal celebrates scoring with Yaya Sanogo during the Emirates Cup match between Arsenal and Benfica at the Emirates Stadium on August 2, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

The truth is that he didn’t fare much better in Spain. Although he made 16 appearances in La Liga, he only managed one goal in the course of 2014/15.

That disappointing showing hasn’t prevented another La Liga club from declaring an interest in taking Campbell permanently. According to Simon Jones of the Mail on Sunday, David Moyes is looking to make up for the failure to sign Danny Ings by luring the Costa Rican to Real Sociedad:

David Moyes has launched a bid to sign Arsenal striker Joel Campbell.

The Real Sociedad boss tried to sign the Costa Rican last summer but he moved to Villarreal on loan as part of the £11million deal that saw their defender Gabriel Paulista go in the opposite direction.

This time Moyes is proposing a £6million bid to take the 22-year-old Campbell on a permanent deal.

Wenger must now weigh whether or not Campbell should form part of the Arsenal squad for 2015/16.

When he moved to Villarreal, he signed a new contract with his parent club. This had two potential benefits for the Gunners: Firstly, it ensured they would be in a position to recall Campbell if he proved a success. However, perhaps more pertinently, it also guaranteed they would receive a decent fee for the forward in the event of deciding to let him go.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23:  Joel Campbell of Arsenal battles with Dusan Tadic of Southampton during the Capital One Cup Third Round match between Arsenal and Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on September 23, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Jul
Julian Finney/Getty Images

At present, that seems the obvious choice. Campbell’s more frequent role at club level has been as a wide forward, and Arsenal are particularly well stocked in that position. If he were to return to London this summer, Campbell would find himself behind the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck in the queue for a first-team place. Even the likes of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey have been used on the right of late, suggesting Campbell would find it almost impossible to earn a regular role in the side.

He’s 23 now and can no longer afford to bide his time on the bench. Campbell would be better served by joining a club where he’d be part of the first XI, and Arsenal could subsequently reinvest any fee in other areas of the squad.

After several years in limbo, another loan move isn’t the optimum solution. It’s time for Campbell and Arsenal to part ways—permanently.

James McNicholas is Bleacher Report's lead Arsenal correspondent and is following the club from a London base throughout the 2015-16 season. Follow him on Twitter here.


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