Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has confessed that Joel Campbell wanted to leave the club over the summer.
The Costa Rica international signed for the Gunners way back in 2011, but has rarely featured for the club’s first-team with work permit issues and competition for places having forced him out on loan moves to the likes of Real Betis, Olympiacos and Villarreal.
However, a spate of injuries in north London saw Wenger hand Campbell a first Premier League start on Saturday at Swansea, and the 23-year-old impressed with a goal in a 3-0 win.
And speaking about Campbell’s situation at the club, Wenger revealed that the attacker was eyeing a move away from Arsenal during the last transfer window:
“I think he wanted to go [in the summer] because he didn’t play, which you can understand and as well because he didn’t play at all,” he is quoted by the London Evening Standard. “Sometimes people want you to buy more and more players but after a while you have to look at your own players.”
Wenger went on to praise the Central American’s patience and his performance against the Swans at the Liberty Stadium:
“When he came back he was on the waiting list and finally he got the chance and I’m very happy for him.
“I think he worked very hard, defended very well, created chances in the first half – he had that shot that was not that far off. He had another shot and in the second half he scored a goal and on top of that he worked very hard.”
Campbell’s other outings this season have been restricted to cup competitions, but he may be in line for more opportunities in the coming weeks with Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all injured.