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Arsene Wenger ready to give Joel Campbell chance at Arsenal

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Arsene Wenger has reiterated his intention to keep Joel Campbell at Arsenal for the upcoming season.

The 22-year-old has been an Arsenal player since the summer of 2011 but only made his debut on Sunday with a late cameo against Manchester City in the Community Shield. The previous three seasons have seen Campbell spend time abroad on loan.

Attacking options

After disappointing spells at Lorient and Real Betis, Campbell came to life with Olympiakos and again performed excellently for Costa Rica at the World Cup. Despite his good form, there was still speculation that Campbell would again be loaned out, especially after Wenger forked out over £30 million on Alexis Sanchez.

The Chilean joined Theo Walcott, Serge Gnabry, Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who can all play out wide in Campbell's preferred position. Adding Campbell to the mix would be give Wenger a selection headache to say the least.

Wenger impressed

His displays against the likes of Manchester United in the Champions League and Uruguay in the World Cup caught the eyes of many Arsenal fans and Wenger has admitted he has been impressed with Campbell's development. The Frenchman confirmed he is ready to give Campbell a chance in the Arsenal team.

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Speaking ahead of Arsenal's game against Crystal Palace, Wenger said: "He has come from a non-competitive world to a world with hyper-competition," Wenger said.

"He has adapted slowly, but has adapted very well, he has a very good spirit and attitude.

"He is a member of my squad at the moment, He had a good preparation and played well against Benfica.

"In training he is very focused and eager to do well. I would like to keep him."

AC MIlan interest

The news will come as a blow to AC Milan, who were hoping to seal Campbell on either a temporary or permanent basis. A £16 million bid had been mooted before attention switched to a season-long loan to the San Siro.

There was also talk of a potential swap deal for Mario Balotelli. However, it later transpired that Wenger was not willing to take a punt on the controversial Italy international.

Emirates bow

Campbell took his chance to show off his potential against Benfica in the Emirates Cup in front of 60,000 Arsenal fans. Campbell proved a constant thorn in the side of the Portuguese champions and capped the performance with an impressive volleyed goal.

It is looking more likely that Serge Gnabry will leave on loan in order to accommodate Campbell. The German youth international burst onto the scene midway through last season but eventually regressed into the shadows thanks to a succession of injuries.

Speaking of Gnabry, Wenger said: "He's still injured at the moment and we have to follow his progress. He needs competition and if nobody goes in the current squad [a loan] could happen.

"At the moment he's not fit and recovering from a knee inflammation. Even if he was fit, he would play for us."

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Topics:
Premier League
Arsenal
Football

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