Joel Nathaniel Campbell Samuel, better known to fans for club and country worldwide as Joel Campbell. The exciting striker was one of the standout players (along with keeper keylor Navas) in a world cup where the Costa- Rican football team impressed football lovers with a brand of vibrant and exciting football. Soccer heavy weights Uruguay and Italy fell to the “los ticos” while England where lucky to escape with a draw. Two matches and a quarterfinal later they were unlucky to lose to a Dutch side (who eventually came third) on penalties. It was enough time for the world to stand up and take notice of the Costa Rican number nine. His direct style of play combined with abundant skill and trickery drew all sorts of comparism with world greats Messi. Joel Campbell was surely destined for great things.
Fast forward to three months later with just three games from a possible ten played for Arsenal the Striker suddenly seems to be stuck in reverse. Arsenal fans look at the striker and will be reminded of another player in the same mould that was faced the same situation. Carlos vela , Mexican golden boy from the WYC and a player whose ice cool finishing and trickery always delighted the Arsenal faithful whenever he was given the opportunity to play. He never made the grade for reasons best known to Arsene Wenger and eventually the player moved to Spain. These days, the forward lines up in the Colours of Real Soceidad and is seemingly at the peak of his powers churning out quality displays consistently. Twenty goals (sixteen in the league) in all competitions last season shows that the Mexican forward is the real deal.
Joel Campbell’s record of 43games for olympiakos in which he amassed 11goals (including the stunner against Manchester united) and 12 assists (four came in one match) show that the player has had a taste of regular game time and will naturally want more. His current record of 73 minutes in all competitions this season for the gunners is a far cry from his tally at this stage of the season in Greece. During the Emirates cup, he gave fans a taste of what to expect with a delightful performance against Benfica and fans were excited at the prospect of what the season would unfold for the player. These days however, the flamboyant forward usually cuts a solemn figure on the bench and game by game his body language on the field is giving off the same vibe. Against Southampton in the carling cup, his performance would best be describes as forgetful, as the guile and purpose once associated with this young striker was conspicuously missing save for a couple of innocuous flicks and tricks. He looked a shadow of the player that once mesmerized the world and more like a player low on self confidence and match rusty.
All through the summer reports emerged linking the player with a host of clubs, the most prominent being Benfica whom it was reported put in a sizeable bid for the player. Arsene Wenger remains adamant that the Costa-Rican star remains part of his plans and is not going to be sent out on loan but the Frenchman also has a reputation of not keeping disgruntled players in his team. Campbell needs game time to improve and it is all too certain that if he does not get sufficient game time he will be angling for a move away to secure it. Under the current circumstances it is also most likely that if he moves he will not return to the club.
Arsenal fans worldwide clasp their hand to their hearts in fervent hope that the Costa- Rican jewel will not decide to receive counseling from a certain pint sized forward who comes from a nation that plays in the same Concacaf region and decide to tow his line.