Arsenal fans were shocked to learn that Joel Campbell had been sent out on loan this summer, after what had been an impressive year for the Costa Rican. Campbell had done well for the Gunners in the previous campaign, managing to grab important goals and assists along the way, but despite his best efforts, Campbell was still restricted to a squad player position rather than being a first teamer.
Seeing the likelihood of his frustrations continuing at Arsenal this year, with a position on the bench or out of the match day squad altogether being more than likely, Campbell requested to be sent out on loan for this season. He subsequently joined Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon on a season long loan and even managed to get on the scoresheet for his new this weekend in a 3-0 win. It posed the question to me that, although it would be risky to pick him as a regular starter for Arsenal in this position, could Joel Campbell have done a job as a striker for Arsenal?
Of course this question isn’t raised upon the basis of him scoring a single goal in the Portuguese league, Campbell did of course manage to get on the scoresheet for Arsenal four times for the Gunners last season, all of which were relatively important goals in proceedings of the match. Not to forget that he was largely limited to substitute appearances and even if he wasn’t scoring, his influence on play certainly helped the team forward. If he had gotten more playing time, then perhaps the number of goals would have increased.
But say if Arsenal hadn’t spent money on securing Lucas Perez, could Campbell have played backup to Giroud until Welbeck returned from injury? If Sanogo is able to keep a spot as a striker at Arsenal, then surely Campbell is capable of doing the same and even if Joel wasn’t to play as a striker, with Theo or Alexis up top instead of Giroud, that would mean there would be a position on the wing available for Campbell to take up.
Of course there’s no chance in changing the state of Campbell’s position this season. The Costa Rican will remain out on loan in Portugal, but it just got me thinking that we’ve seen that Joel has the speed, the fight and the desire to push his way past defenders and so perhaps the idea of trying Campbell up front rather than being crowded on the wings, doesn’t seem as silly as it may sound.
Could Campbell have had a go at being a backup striker at Arsenal?