When Costa Rican Joel Campbell signed for Arsenal last summer, a fairly low key arrival greeted him. Who was he? Where had he come from? Was this another example of Wenger’s knack of finding young talented unknowns?
Well if his first year as an Arsenal player is anything to go by, Wenger’s knack has let him down. Having endured a rather fruitless loan spell to FC Lorient last season,Campbell’s inability to acquire a work permit means Arsenal fans are none the wiser to what he can offer, and this week he joins Real Betis on loan for the upcoming season.
Many Gunners fans are finding this to be another frustrating transfer scenario. His inability to get a work permit has baffled – he’s not exactly going to be able to avoid paying tax with the wages he’ll be earning in North London.
But it would seem that every summer there is at least one signing from South America that amounts to nothing, not even said player putting on an Arsenal shirt. Recent years examples can be seen in the form of players like Pedro Botelho, Damian Martinez and Samuel Galindo.
Earlier on in Wenger’s managerial reign, signings fromSouth Americahelped to discover some hidden talent. Edu, Gilberto Silva and Denilson all enjoyed impressive runs in the Arsenal first team, although the latter appears to have recently fallen out of favour at the Emirates. The continued scouting may have been used to discover hidden gems, but the standard of recent acquisitions would suggest maybe Arsenal shouldn’t bother.
When it comes to Joel Campbell, he’s been tipped by many for great things. Aged 20, he needs to ensure that he sets La Liga alight in Real Betis colours next season to have any potential at Arsenal, and not fall into the same trap as some of his predecessors.
Campbell’s move to Betis has been an understandable source of frustration for many. The loan move to Spain is a common one for those obscure South American signings, with plenty of Arsenal fans believing that the loan to La Liga just leaves those players realising they want to ply their trade in Spain. The Costa Rican himself even stated his delight at ‘joining the best league in the world’. As cliché as it sounds, the Spanish league rarely toughens players up for the physicality of the Premier League.
Joel Campbell illustrates the latest signing in some bizarre transfer business that has happened at Arsenal Football Club in recent years. Whilst Wenger has tipped the 20 year old to make the first team, another season without a work permit and another loan move will make imposing himself at the Emirates long term difficult. He will do well to avoid following the path of some of his South American colleagues at Arsenal.