The big transfer news last week was the arrival of Gabriel Paulista at the Emirates. The Brazilian's transfer from Villarreal adds strength in depth to the Arsenal defence and creates competition for places. At £11.2million, he looks like he could be a great-value addition. As well as securing Paulista's acquisition, Arsene Wenger also reduced the fee by agreeing to loan Joel Campbell to the La Liga side in return. As good a signing as Paulista could turn out to be, it could be argued that ensuring Campbell some first-team action was an equally shrewd bit of business.
Campbell arrived at the Emirates from Deportivo Saprissa in his home country of Costa Rica in 2011 and he has already had a number of spells out on loan. Last season he scored 11 goals in 43 league appearances for Olympiakos. At the age of 22, and having picked up vital Champions League experience whilst in Greece and playing in the 2014 World Cup, Wenger thought that this could have been Campbell's breakthrough year. He therefore retained him as part of his first-team squad. Unfortunately for all concerned, the breakthrough has yet to materialise.
There is no doubting Campbell's raw talent, his pace and skill, but his fleeting appearances in the Premier League have suggested an inability to impose himself on a game. When Arsenal's season started disappointingly, with users of the betfair specialised betting app starting to wonder whether their bets on Arsenal to make the Champions League were safe, Campbell could have been the bright spark to turn things around. The injury to Olivier Giroud, in particular, should have been a catalyst for Campbell to force his way into the team. Instead, Wenger turned to Yaya Sanogo and then to Danny Welbeck to fill the void. It is clear that the Frenchman still does not think that Campbell is ready for a central role.
Everything to Gain
In loaning the Costa Rican to Villarreal, Wenger can watch him from a distance and assess whether he has what it takes to make an impression at the top level. At this moment in time, Campbell has minimal transfer value but if he excels in Spain, then he could attract interest in the summer. Wenger could then decide whether Campbell is in his plans or not and either cash in or give him a bigger role. Arsenal are losing nothing by loaning Campbell to Villarreal but they could be in line for a big gain if he proves his worth.