Arsenal striker Joel Campbell was the subject of a €10m bid from Benfica late last night, but negotiations over a last-ditch collapsed as the Portuguese champions refused to meet a minimum asking price of €12m.
Portuguese daily O Jogo reported this morning that Benfica pushed hard to sign Campbell on Monday as Arsenal closed in on a £16m deal for the Costa Rica international, although eventually the Gunners held firm on their asking price and their stubborn stance kept the forward at the Emirates until at least January.
Campbell will now stay and fight for a starting spot in an Arsenal strikeforce that looks heavy on numbers thanks to Welbeck's last-gasp arrival, but it remains to be seen if the virbant 22-year-old has a pathway towards long-term success in North London.
€2m difference keeps Campbell at the Emirates
Benfica viewed Campbell as the kind of exciting centre-forward they needed to replace a string of high-profile outgoings in a very disappointing transfer window for the Lisbon giants, including Rodrigo and Oscar Cardozo.
Clearly the Portuguese giants weren't desperate enough to do the deal that it meant compromising their transfer budget though, with a measly €2m difference price enough to halt frenzied negotiations at the 11th hour.
Arsenal decide to keep their man
Campbell's agent Joaquim Batica is quoted by the same publication as insisting he tried everything to get the deal over the line, which confirms if true that the World Cup star had concerns over his first-team chances at Arsenal and was prepared to consider a move if a fee was agreed.
Batica claimed: "We tried everything to end. Benfica did everything in their power to have Joel. Arsenal there will have their reasons. They refused to let him leave.
Arsenal strike options under scrutiny
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was adamant last weekend that Campbell was going nowhere and has eventually stayed true to his word, but still added Welbeck to help compensate for Olivier Giroud's long-term absence in attack.
Add Welbeck to a mix that already includes Yaya Sanogo, Lukas Podolski, Alexis Sanchez and when fit Theo Walcott and Campbell has some serious competition for regular game time this season.
Campbell has only featured in one of Arsenal's first three Premier League fixtures this season and also didn't leave the bench in either leg of their Champions League qualifier against Besiktas.
There's still plenty of time for the raw, pacy forward to make his mark in North London as the games come thick and fast across four competitions this season, although it remains to be seen if Campbell is ready to stamp his authority on an Arsenal side desperate to prove their title credentials are genuine.
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