The proposed link up between Arsenal and Real Betis will hold as many positives for the Seville-based club as it will for The Gunners. Betis, for the most part, are modest. Their recent history is nothing in comparison to the glory of their city rivals. But the collaboration with Arsenal, which will see young players go on loan to La Liga, will help to keep the club chugging along, especially with a manager like Pepe Mel at the helm.
Joel Campbell, of whom plenty of Arsenal fans have high hopes, has just rounded off a good season with Betis. Following a difficult start to the campaign, the young forward has settled and found a role and a purpose at the club. He’s far from the star name of Benat, nor does he possess the scoring ability of Ruben Castro, but both the player and Betis will be keen to continue this loan spell into next season.
The problem is, and much like the case with Carlos Vela, Campbell could be absent for such a length of time that he simply becomes forgotten or fails to establish a place at the Emirates. How does Arsene Wenger forget about one of his talented names in reserve? It’s quite easy, it’s been happening for years. It says a lot about the success rate of Arsenal’s youth system that 15 names were released following the end of last season.
Campbell won’t come back to Arsenal this summer and earn a regular spot next season. It’s not that he might not have the talent – though I don’t believe him to be good enough at this stage – but rather that the patience or time isn’t there. Arsenal are currently in a position where they need to feed the hunger for success from supporters. Bringing in a young player and trying to integrate him at the expense of a big signing simply won’t be allowed.
New arrivals are the other problem for Campbell and his Arsenal future. The club have looked to bring in Yaya Sanogo this summer. The Frenchman is low-risk, could become a good Premier League striker in the future and, fundamentally, could take Campbell’s place in the squad.
It isn’t a matter about work permits, either. Campbell reportedly has loan offers from clubs in England, but for his continued development that wouldn’t be the best choice. He’s settled at Betis and is enjoying life in Spain; he’s liked by the fans, the players and the coach. Once again, Spain has offered him a home, if only for the short term, like it has for Vela. Campbell is playing well but he’s not a regular. He’s scored some very impressive goals but he’s not yet a prolific striker.
It won’t be a mark on him as a player if he fails to make the grade at Arsenal. Fran Merida, Henri Lansbury, Kyle Bartley, and countless others have also been thought of as good enough for Arsenal, yet circumstances fought against them. Ryo Miyaichi could be another.
Real Betis, like so many of their La Liga counterparts, are in the market for bargains and loan signings; anything that can enhance their squad with very little outlay. The Seville club will be hoping that, as previously indicated, Arsenal simply ‘forget’ about Campbell. Unlike Wenger, Pepe Mel and Betis can guarantee game time. Unlike Arsenal, Betis is a far from the boiling pot of pressure and enormous expectancy.
For now, this looks to be a player from whom Arsenal can make a financial profit via his recent development. Like the case with Sanogo, Campbell was a low-risk signing, having been picked up for around £900,000. And even though he’s only 20 and can still grow to become a very good player, Campbell, at senior level, just doesn’t show the same dominance that earned him a reputation at youth level. That, importantly, could count against him and end his career with Arsenal.
Does Joel Campbell have a future at Arsenal?
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