Costa Rica hero Joel Campbell has been valued at £16 million by his representative, who also confirmed his World Cup displays have attracted interest from Serie A.
The 22-year-old has drawn plenty of plaudits for his displays in the group stages of the World Cup. It followed an impressive display against Manchester United in the Champions League where he scored a fantastic goal in the first leg.
Needless to say, Arsenal fans, who have never seen Campbell in an Arsenal shirt since he joined in 2011, are excited at the prospect of getting him back to the Emirates Stadium. Before people get too excited though, there needs to be a serious discussion over whether Campbell is worthy of a place in Arsenal's squad.
Campbell's assistant agent - assistant agent...? - Ruggero Lacerenza has insisted that Campbell's value has rocketed to £16 million following his excellent season with Olympiakos and World Cup campaign with Costa Rica. Lacerenza also confirmed clubs from Serie A are interested in acquiring his services.
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He told Milannews.it: "Italian clubs after Campbell? Yes there are, there are various top-tier clubs that often make enquiries about the boy.
"I deny concrete contacts with Milan, the boy’s future with Arsenal is to be evaluated. We’ll see after the World Cup with Arsenal - he may be valued around £16m."
Wenger has already confirmed that he intends to invite Campbell back to Arsenal for pre-season at least to evaluate whether or not to give him a place in the squad or send him back out on loan.
Despite his good form, it looks likely he will leave again, most likely on loan to a more prominent European club. However, such a move could be a massive error in judgement, especially if the forward can attract a bid in the region of £16 million.
As proven by Campbell, the World Cup is the ultimate stage to play well; it can make or break your career. A couple of good performances and all of a sudden you're the name on everyone's lips. There is no question that Campbell has performed well, but a £16 million fee is well above what he is actually worth.
It is just the phenomenon that comes with the buzz that surrounds the World Cup; valuations become inflated and players appear better than they are. The fact remains that Campbell is unproven at the highest level and has had just one good season in the Greek Super League.
Given the chance to impress at Lorient and Real Betis, Campbell failed, ns only succeed playing for Olympiacos, who could probably win their league playing with 10 men. Until he does it in the big leagues over several seasons, he represents an unknown quantity to Wenger and Arsenal.
Is he a potential superstar?
There is no doubt Campbell has what it takes to become a top player. Speed & skill in abundance, as well as an eye for a pinpoint pass, there is no telling how far this boy could go. But Arsenal fans said the same about Ryo Miyaichi, who lit up Feyenoord, but couldn't handle the physical nature of the Premier League.
How much could Arsenal have sold Miyaichi after his loan spell at Feyenoord? £5 million? Maybe more. What's for sure is he is now worth almost nothing. Arsenal cannot make the same mistake with Campbell, especially if a £16 million offer comes their way.
Buying unknown stars from outside of Europe before loaning them out and selling them on has been a profitable business for Arsenal. They just received £12 million from Real Sociedad for Carlos Vela, bringing the total transfer fee from 2012 to around £15m.
Campbell was probably brought in on the same basis with the plan always to sell him for profit when his stock was high. After a good World Cup, it is likely his stock will never be higher and Arsenal may never get a bigger transfer fee than this summer.
One bad injury, a spell of bad form or a combination of the two will put him back into the periphery of football, where his transfer value will plummet as quickly as it has risen.
£16 million would represent a £15 million profit and boost the transfer war chest as Wenger chases the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mario Balotelli and Angel Di Maria.
It may be a tough decision to make as it appears Wenger may have unearthed a new superstar. But in reality, Campbell is just enjoying a purple patch and is likely to regress back to the same frustrated figure Real Betis and Lorient fans remember.
Arsenal should put him on the market and see what comes back. Any offer over £10 million should be considered while anything over £15 million should be immediately accepted.
Fans won't like it, but when they never hear from him again, they'll be thankful, once again, that Wenger made the unpopular, yet right, decision.
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