Campbell and Coquelin return to Arsenal with contrasting outlooks

Campbell and Coquelin return to Arsenal with contrasting outlooks

Four members of the Arsenal first-team squad spent part of last season on loan. Of those, Ju-Young Park is poised to officially leave the club at the end of the month, whilst Johan Djourou is set to seal a permanent switch to Hamburg.

The remaining two players, Joel Campbell and Francis Coquelin, could well play a considerable part in Arsenal’s pre-season preparations, but the pair will return to Arsenal with rather contrasting outlooks for the immediate future.

Coquelin, who recently turned 23, spent the season with Freiburg, but failed to make a sustained impact for the German side as he was frequently forced to play on the left wing and was often not selected at all. A defensive midfielder by trade with a penchant for crunching challenges, his star has waned a little in recent seasons after he failed to establish himself as a regular for Arsene Wenger’s side.

He still has a year to run on his contract and could potentially provide some useful cover at both right-back and in defensive-midfield, but, for the sake of his own development, it would perhaps be better for Coquelin to move elsewhere on a permanent basis in an attempt to relaunch what, not too long ago, appeared to be a rather promising career.

Campbell is a different matter entirely. The athletic youngster, who can operate either as a winger or as a central striker, has made countless headlines this week following his stellar showing for Costa Rica in their victory over Uruguay in the World Cup, in which he both scored and assisted.

Campbell has had to be mightily patient for his opportunity, initially encountering work permit problems upon signing for Arsenal that meant that he was sent out first to Lorient, then to Real Betis and finally to Olympiacos. It was during the latter spell that the youngster really thrived, with his goal against Manchester United in the Champions League a particular highlight.

He certainly seems a player who is unfazed by the big occasion, too, having previously found the net against Spain in 2011. The only negative from an Arsenal perspective is that his pre-season will be rather truncated as a consequence of his involvement in the World Cup, particularly if Costa Rica were to progress from the group stages.

Once he is available, however, the very least that Arsenal can do is to provide him with an opportunity to impress in the early months of next season.


Jeorge Bird is the author of  www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com  Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird