Arsene Wenger confirms Joel Campbell stays; no word on Lukas Podolski

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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he intends to keep struggling star Joel Campbell at the club past the January transfer window, despite the growing interest in his signature.

The Costa Rica star, who was a hit on-loan at Olympiacos last term before returning to the Emirates Stadium after an equally impressive World Cup, has been somewhat frozen out by Wenger until now.

Though he started last night's emphatic win over Galatasaray he has only managed eight appearances in all competitions so far this season, and as a result a move away from the club looked to be looming.

However, whilst he didn’t go as far as declaring whether or not Lukas Podolski would be remaining in north London past the next transfer window, Wenger did allay fears that Campbell would be either loaned out or sold on.

Wenger confirmation

“Campbell will stay with us,” Wenger said to Arsenal’s official website.

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Then, when asked about Podolski's future, he said: “It is a competition for places that is difficult. I had (Danny) Welbeck, (Alexis) Sanchez and (Olivier) Giroud at home and you can only play a certain number of strikers.

“He came back later from the World Cup but he is now coming back to a very strong level.”

"He came back later from the World Cup but he is now coming back to a very strong level"

Such an affirmation insinuates that the Frenchman has plans yet for the promising striker, and means that the likes of Inter Milan will have to look elsewhere. At the moment the Gunners have a surplus of forward-thinking players at their disposal, but their poor league form would suggest that a change in tact could well be beneficial.

Spaces for the future

Having proved before the start of this campaign that he’s capable of finding the net against big sides Campbell will be hoping to be given a chance to impress in the coming matches, although that looks unlikely given that Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck are all sure to return to the picture in time for this weekend’s clash against Newcastle United.

As for the aforementioned Podolski it remains to be seen whether or not Wenger will retain his services or opt for him to depart next month. The German international has cut a frustrated figure of late, having been confined to the bench despite Arsenal’s various injury problems.

His brace last night may well have sent a message which will give him more opportunities further down the line, but it can be assumed a player of his stature and experience won’t want to pass up the opportunity to move if he’s not going to be given game-time where he is.

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Arsene Wenger
Lukas Podolski
Joel Campbell
Premier League

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