Joel Campbell had several offers from Italy this summer and hoped to hold talks with AC Milan and AS Roma, agent Joaquim Bata has revealed.
The forward has been an Arsenal player since 2011 but only joined up with the Gunners this summer having spent the subsequent three seasons on loan. Arsene Wenger confirmed his intentions to introduce Campbell into the Arsenal squad after an impressive season for Olympiakos and Costa Rica.
'Hoping for a call'
However, despite being given the chance to shine in north London, the lack of first team opportunities was clearly a concern for the 22-year-old. As a result, his agent said Campbell was keen to leave the Emirates Stadium and that there was plenty of interest from Serie A.
"Joel likes AC Milan and Roma and he was hoping for a call from these two clubs. There was contact with Milan, and Roma were thinking of Campbell in the case that Mattia Destro left.
"But in reality, the Italian club that moved most concretely for Campbell was Fiorentina, even if the deal did not go ahead."
It was believed Wenger would go back on his word and sell Campbell after Danny Welbeck was signed from Manchester United. The England international would have pushed Campbell further down the pecking order where he is already struggling to get game time.
A deal with Benfica looked likely on deadline day, but a deal was never agreed. Bata has held nothing back in his criticism of the club for Arsenal's reluctance to sell.
He told O Jogo: "Benfica fought until the last minute to sign Campbell but the move didn’t happen because, in the last hour, Arsenal decided to keep him.
"Wenger says he did not want to sell him. But if he is not in his plans, then why not allow him to leave?"
Happy to compete
Although his agent may be unhappy with the transfer collapsing, and his substantial fee that would come with it, it seems Campbell is happy to compete for a place in the Arsenal set up. The striker told Arsenal's official website that he can offer Wenger an option across the attacking three and hopes his versatility will help him get some time on the pitch.
"Arsene Wenger has many good options to line up a great attacking force," Campbell told Arsenal Player.
"I presume that every attacking player in the squad will fight with me for a starting place. I am my biggest competitor - I have to train hard and get better day after day. Being here is a great opportunity for me.
"I feel that I can contribute with speed, goals and dribbling skills. I am a player capable of playing either on the right or left flanks or in the middle. It's down to the manager to decide which of those three positions I am needed most in. I just have to do my best anywhere I play."
Form and potential
Campbell has certainly arrived at Arsenal with a reputation for the spectacular. Fans were treated to a glimpse of Campbell's potential when he starred against Manchester United in the Champions League and for Costa Rica at the World Cup.
His impressive displays on the biggest stages saw his popularity skyrocket in north London and fans were keen to see him tested in the Premier League. With the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain and Theo Walcott all competing for places, Campbell will have to do most of his impressing on the training ground if he is to get the chance on the pitch.
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