Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he intends to keep Joel Campbell at Arsenal despite his lack of playing time.
Campbell was one of the most impressive performers at this summer's World Cup, inspiring Costa Rica to a place in the quarter-finals. Having also impressed whilst on loan at Olympiacos last season, the 22-year-old was expected to play an important role for the Gunners this season.
The reality is very different. So far Campbell has started just one game for the Gunners and has failed to make the squad in each of Arsenal's last two games against Burnley and Anderlecht. Instead Wenger has preferred to put Yaya Sanogo on the bench, hinting that the Costa Rican doesn't feature in his plans.
“I personally love Joel Campbell and have a big respect for him" - Arsene Wenger
Reports of unhappiness
That led to reports that Campbell was looking to seal a swift exit from the Emirates. Having been a key figure for both club and country last season, Campbell is seemingly unwilling to accept such a lack of first team action and wanted out.
But Wenger has tried his best to reassure Campbell. The Frenchman claimed that the forward he originally signed in 2011 was still very much a part of his plans. However, he also insisted that he could not guarantee to make every player in his Arsenal squad happy.
- Joel Campbell seeking Arsenal exit in January
- Inter Milan to launch bids for Podolski & Campbell
- Joel Campbell agent set for Inter talks
Joel Campbell love
Asked if Campbell was in his plans, Wenger told reporters: “Yes, of course.
“But I cannot guarantee the happiness of every player. I try to make everybody happy.
“I personally love Joel Campbell and have a big respect for him and I wish every day that he is happy from morning till evening. We have all got to deal with our problems.”
Down the pecking order
Despite Wenger's claims, the fact is that Campbell has only played 37 minutes of Premier League football this year. The player's transfer value would have certainly diminished since the summer and will only fall further if the situation continues.
Theo Walcott and Serge Gnabry returning from injury will only serve to push Campbell further down the pecking order. If Campbell is as unhappy as reported, a January exit still looks likely.