Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Joel Campbell could still have a future at the club following his loan spell with Olympiakos. The 21-year-old scored a fine goal in a 2-0 victory over Manchester United this week in the last-16 of the Champions League. Signed by the Gunners in 2011, the failure to get a work permit meant he was sent on loan to French side Lorient and then to Spain with Real Betis. Now with the Greek Champions, Wenger believes that Campbell has adjusted to life in Europe.
“I will decide that later. Why not?” Wenger said when asked whether the player had a future at the Emirates Stadium, according to Arsenal’s official website. “We bought him to bring him here.
“He was good, convincing going forward [against Man United]. He looks like he has adapted a bit better to the physical side of the European game. We always knew that he had the talent to create something special. He did rely a bit too much on that. But he's now been out with three different clubs; he was with Lorient, Real Betis and now Olympiakos. He has learned the toughness of the European leagues.”
After scoring against the Premier League champions, Campbell revealed his determination to make it at Arsenal.
"I am still hopeful of playing for Arsenal but I have not been given the chance yet, I hope to keep working at Olympiakos," he told ESPN. "I am making sure that I take this opportunity. Thank God I scored a goal and celebrated it with my father, girlfriend and cousins.
"There are many things I can improve on though; I am 21 and I have to keep working."
Tuesday’s match in Piraeus has unsurprisingly led to much comment about the state of affairs at Manchester United. Notably, from an Arsenal perspective, there has been further speculation about the future of Robin van Persie.
The Guardian is one of the publications to claim that the 30-year-old will consider his future at Old Trafford this summer. After two almost injury-free years, Van Persie, who was disappointed with departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, has had a series of niggling injuries under David Moyes. The new manager’s tactics have also contributed to Van Persie often cutting an isolated figure in recent matches. Recent reports out of Italy claimed that his agent had met with Wenger and that both parties were keen for him to return to the Emirates next season. It seems likely that United will resist any attempt from Van Persie to leave, however, especially to a fellow Premier League club.
In other news, there have been reports in Spain that Arsenal are interested in signing Real Madrid’s Isco. Following his €30 million (£24.7m) transfer from Malaga last summer, Isco made an impressive initial impact at the Bernabeu. But since coach Carlo Ancelotti switched to a 4-3-3 formation last month, the 21-year-old has found himself out of favor.
Sports daily Mundo Deportivo has reported that Manchester City and his ex-Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini, who Isco rejected to join Madrid last summer, are again interested. Arsenal are now claimed to have joined the hunt for the Spain international, who it is said will cost €36 million (£29.6m). With an abundance of playmakers already at the club, it seems highly unlikely that Arsenal will splash out to such a degree on another, however.