Arsene Wenger admits Joel Campbell wanted to leave Arsenal

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Arsene Wenger has admitted Joel Campbell was keen to leave Arsenal in the summer because of the lack of game time afforded to him in the previous campaign.

Campbell originally became an Arsenal player back in 2011 but has made only 15 appearances for the Gunners since then. Instead, he has spent four loan spells away from the club.

After emerging as a potential star at Olympiacos, and then last summer's World Cup with Costa Rica, Wenger invited him back to north London with the intention of embedding him in the first-team squad.


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It didn't work out and he was sent to Villarreal for the latter half of the season. He was widely expected to depart in the summer, but, once again, Wenger kept his faith despite having a wide variety of options on the right side.

A succession of injuries to Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has now seen the 23-year-old promoted and Wenger is thanking his lucky stars he didn't cash in.

“I think he wanted to go [in the summer] because he didn’t play, which you can understand and as well because he didn’t play at all,” the manager told the Evening Standard.

“Sometimes people want you to buy more and more players but after a while you have to look at your own players.

“He comes from Costa Rica, to get out of there and to come to [England] and to go different leagues and survive, you need some character and he has shown that again today. In our job, all you can do is be ready and when you get your chance, take it and I think he did.”

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Tougher times ahead

As Arsenal fans know, Campbell started and scored in their 3-0 win over Swansea at the weekend. His performance is likely to see him start in the Allianz Arena on Wednesday as Arsenal take on Bayern Munich in another crucial Champions League game.

The Bundesliga juggernauts are certain to provide a sterner test for Campbell, but, equally, it will be a much bigger chance for the winger to stake a claim ahead of his injured team-mates.

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