“Who Is Messi? Who Is Neymar? I Present To You: Joel Campbell”
After a number of impressive displays at this year’s Copa America, a number of media outlets claim that Arsenal have struck a deal for 19-year-old Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell – a player who has played just three professional games (two in the weak domestic Costa Rican league) and our interest is purportedly off the back of his 12 goals in 18 games for the national team, with only five caps at senior level – however, Campbell is very highly rated with national team manager Ricardo La Volpe singing his praises in eccentric style:
“Who is Messi? Who is Neymar? Gentlemen of the press – I present to you: Joel Campbell. I discovered him playing with cans.”
What’s his pedigree?: As previously mentioned, Campbell has only played three domestic games for his club Deportivo Saprissa (the biggest club in Central America) and this is the real worry as although international form has been excellent he is still unproven across a league season. 5’11″, left-footed forward Campbell had this to say about his style:
“I’m clever, fast and good on the ball, though I think I’m at my best in one-on-one situations. Ronaldo has always been my idol and role model but I don’t think I’m like him, Eto’o or anyone. I try to take the things they’re each good at and learn from them. I watch what they do in the pitch and try to put it into practice.”
How’s the chemistry?: English-speaking Campbell can play anywhere across the front three and seems a born finisher in the face of goal – despite saying he’s not like Samuel Eto’o they have a very similar style of direct running with a neat end product and this predatory nature has earnt Campbell the nickname ‘El Pantera’ (the panther) in his native Costa Rica. Campbell is certainly not a marquee signing and there are still real question marks over whether or not he will ever break into the first team – this transfer is for the future as opposed to bolstering our team (in defence) for the current season. Campbell not played in 75 percent of Costa Rica’s matches in the last two years and would therefore not qualify for a work permit to play in England until at least 2012 (unless we are granted special dispensation) so a Ryo Miyaichi-esque loan abroad seems likely.
Do we have a chance?: According to Costa Rican news outlets, Arsenal have proposed a fee of $1.5 million (£930,000) with a five-year-deal for Campbell and many sources state the signing is complete – however, we are more sceptical after the Ricky Alvarez debacle. Arsenal chief scout for CONCACAF Richard Law is in contact with Campbell according to his agent Joel Batica:
“I have been in contact for several months with an Arsenal scout who works in Central and North America… I talked to the scout who reported to Wenger and the interest grew little by little, because Arsene Wenger initially was unaware of the player. Now the interest is high from the Arsenal and we are here.”
Campbell himself takes nothing for granted but is optimistic about his supposed future at Arsenal, as are we:
Who would not want to play for Arsenal? That’s what I work for but as yet nothing is clear. I am calm: I leave everything in God’s hands.”
Likely bid: $1.5 million. Probability: 9/10, this transfer looks all but done.
Submitted by clockendview – just another Arsenal blog
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