• World Cup

Wenger to give Campbell his Arsenal shot

ESPN staff
June 16, 2014
Joel Campbell scored Costa Rica's equaliser in their 3-1 win against Uruguay © Getty Images

Arsene Wenger is ready to give Joel Campbell a chance to make his mark at Arsenal next season after his star turn in Costa Rica's shock World Cup win against Uruguay.

Wenger, in Brazil working as a pundit for French television, will monitor Campbell's progress at the tournament before running the rule over him in pre-season training and may opt to bring him back tot he Premier League rather than sending him out on loan for a fourth year.

"He will definitely come back to us for pre-season," Wenger said. "He is maturing well."

Since his arrival at Arsenal in 2011, work permit issues have seen Campbell loaned out to Lorient, Real Betis and Olympiakos - for whom he scored a stunning goal against Manchester United in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 defeat last season.

Wenger, who is using his trip to Brazil as a scouting opportunity, is likely to assess his options after learning his prospects of transfer window success and then decide whether Campbell, 21, needs another season of regular first-team football.

Finding a new striker is the manager's top priority, while a holding midfielder is also on his wanted list, as is a new right-back following the departure of Bacary Sagna on a free transfer to Manchester City.

Campbell, however, is not seen as the striker solution by Wenger, even though he can fulfill that role or operate as a winger. It is believed Karim Benzema, who scored twice in France's opening win over Honduras, and Croatia's Mario Mandzukic are the players Wenger would like to spearhead his attack.

Campbell insists his focus remains on Costa Rica - and he has not been in contact Wenger recently, despite being granted a work permit to play in England. "No, I don't speak with the boss," he said. "In this moment, I don't want to speak about my future. I only think about my country because I have total respect for my team. I have all my mind on Costa Rica."

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