Why Arsenal will regret losing Joel Campbell this season
Joel Campbell has finally put an end to his seven-year-long Arsenal career. According to Sky Sports, the 26-year-old Costa Rica international has joined Serie A side Frosinone on a permanent deal which will keep him at the club till 2021.
Campbell joined Arsenal from Deportivo Saprissa way back in 2011 but it was not until 2013 that he received a work permit in England.
Arsene Wenger experimented with his team dynamics and included Campbell in his plans but the Costa Rican failed to make a significant impact and couldn’t cement a place in the starting line-up.
Mostly treated as a fringe player, Campbell spent six loan spells away from the Emirates at Lorient, Villarreal, Sporting Lisbon, Olympiacos and Real Betis, where he had a couple of stints.
Despite being away on loan for most of his time in England, Campbell failed to replicate his international form at the club level. Over the course of six seasons, Campbell has managed only 4 goals and 6 assists in the limited opportunities he received.
While the move to Frosinone presents a positive situation for the 26-year-old, Arsenal, on the other hand, should have made more efforts to tie him to the Emirates.
To be fair, Arsenal have been guilty of somewhat underusing the player and Campbell hasn’t been able to live up to his potential in England due to a significant lack of game time. Sporadic loan spells at different clubs across Europe prevented him from settling down in his career.
Playing under different managers in different formations and different tactics did not allow the Costa Rican to flourish. Frosinone may not be the biggest club in the Serie A but Campbell is expected to receive adequate first-team minutes, which could possibly help him ply his trade at a single club.
With regular first-team action and a sense of stability in his career, things may just start to get back on track for the 26-year-old.
However, Campbell’s exit would not present a win-win situation for Arsenal as the player could have flourished under Unai Emery‘s style of play. Whether he would have done well or not is a different issue but he deserved a chance to prove his worth.
Campbell, who can play down either flank and has the pace and the dribbling ability to trouble the opposition, could have been an asset to Emery’s philosophy. He not only has the vision to find the target man from the wings but also can play as a forward himself.
Coming off the bench, he could have acted as a potential game changer with his electrifying pace and ability to add that extra edge to the attacking third.
With Theo Walcott now plying his trade for Everton, Arsenal do not have a plethora of talented wingers and Emery could miss Campbell’s presence on the bench. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is definitely a class apart and Henrikh Mkhitaryan is capable of playing down the sides but Arsenal do not have too many alternatives.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles seems is a star for the future but the full-back/winger is only 20 and has a long way to go in terms of development.
As challenging and lengthy as the Premier League is, the cup competitions are not going to make life any easier for the teams. If Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan go down with injuries as the season wears on, Arsenal might just look back and regret the decision to let Joel Campbell leave.