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Joel Campbell can now secure his work permit, but will Wenger have him for 2013/14?

1.06K   //    28 Mar 2013, 20:07 IST

Joel Campbell on target for Betis this season

So as we reach the end of the International break and before we get back into the rigors of the Premiership and the chase for Champions League places. I have my Arsenal match tickets for the run in but I wanted first to just bring you all up to speed on one of my favourite subjects, which may of you have been asking for an update on. Yes readers for the 3rd time since my blog launched it is ‘Super Joel Campbell’ update time.

In June 2012 I wrote a blog entitled ‘Super Campbell Work permit now a formality, Exclusive’ and made a fool of myself by not researching thoroughly enjoy.  I had calculated that Campbell had played enough competitive games by last summer to gain a work permit. This was primarily due to the fact that Costa Rica has not had too many competitive fixtures in 2010. Sadly however I missed 4 fixtures Costa Rica plated in the UNCAF Nations Cup in the January of 2011 which had not for some reason appeared on the FIFA site and Joel had played in these having not at that point made his international debut.

I have followed Joel closely in France and Spain since he signed for Arsenal in August 2011 and I am of the view that he is now ready to come back to his parent club Arsenal this summer and play a role in 2013/14.

First of all let’s examine the criteria set down for footballers for the granting of International work permits

Work permits will be issued to international players of the highest calibre who are able to make a significant contribution in footballing terms to the development of the United Kingdom game at the highest level (i.e. clubs competing in the Premier Leagues and Football Leagues in England and Scotland, the Welsh Premier League and the Irish Premier League in Northern Ireland).

Initial applications

To be eligible for a work permit:

  • a player must have played for his country in at least 75% of its competitive ’A’ team matches he was available for selection, during the two years preceding the date of the application; and
  • The player’s country must be at or above 70th place in the official FIFA world rankings when averaged over the two years preceding the date of the application.

Competitive matches


The definition of a competitive ‘A’ team international match is a:

  • World Cup Finals game;
  • World Cup Qualifying group game; and
  • Football Association confederation tournament game, for example:
    • The FIFA Confederations Cup;
    • The UEFA European Championships and Qualifiers;
    • The African Cup of Nations and Qualifiers;
    • The Asia Nations Cup and Qualifiers;
    • The CONCACAF Gold Cup;
    • The CONCACAF The Copa Caribe;
    • The CONMEBOL Copa America;
    • The OFC Nations Cup and
    • The UNCAF Nations Cup

I have emboldened the competitions in which Costa Rica could conceivably compete.

This of course has to be evidenced by the applying club as detailed below:

International appearances

Prior to submitting an application, clubs should provide written confirmation of the player’s international appearance record over the preceding two years highlighting the competitive ‘A’ matches. This should be obtained from the player’s home association. The sports and entertainments team, UK Border Agency, will be unable to make a decision on the application until written evidence is provided. If any evidence submitted needs verifying, the sports and entertainments team, UK Border Agency, will liaise with other parties and verify all information through all available sources, if necessary.

So first and foremost we need to update the exact position on Joel Campbell as the end of his current loan contract with Real Betis will be almost exactly 2 years from his international debut for Coast Rica on the 5th June 2011. Campbell has 22 full caps now and 7 goals for his country and is still 3 months short of his 21st birthday but as we have established the key is which of his caps were in Competitive A games.

Date of InternationalFixtureCompetitionCampbell Y/N
June 5thCuba (H)Gold CupY
June 9thEl Salvador (H)Gold CupY
June 12thMexico (A)Gold CupN
June 18thHonduras (H)Gold CupY
July 2ndColombia (A)Copa AmericaY
July 7thBolivia (A)Copa AmericaY
July 11thArgentina (A)Copa AmericaY
June 8thEl Salvador (H)World Cup QualifierY
June 12thGuyana (A)World Cup QualifierY
September  7thMexico (H)World Cup QualifierY
September 11thMexico (A)World Cup QualifierY
October 12thEl Salvador (A)World Cup QualifierN
October 16thGuyana (H)World Cup QualifierY
February 6thPanama (A)World Cup QualifierY
March 22ndUSA (A)World Cup QualifierY
March 26thJamaica (H)World Cup QualifierY

So what does the above mean for Campbell?

Well in short since his international debut Joel Campbell has played in 14 of the 16 competitive games Costa Rica have played. This for the mathematicians among you equated to 87.5% of the games. So provided Costa Rica are in the top 70 in the Fifa World rankings should Arsenal apply for a permit when Joel completes his loan on the 30th June it will be granted. Costa Rica, with Campbell’s help have climbed ten or so places in the rankings and are currently the 53rd ranked team.

To ensure completion we should consider futures competitive internationals for Costa Rica between now and the end of his Betis loan in June. Costa Rica will play 3 World Cup qualifiers in June in an 11 day period. These are Honduras at home on the 7th, Mexico away on the 11th and finally Panama at home on the 18th. In short we need Joel to play in only one of the games to stay above the 75%. Indeed is he plays in all 3 as seems likely the first 3 games from June 2011 will fall out of the calculation, one of which he did not feature in and he would move to 15/16 from 18th June 2011 to 18th June 2013. Bottom line is that it truly is now a formality.

On target frequently for Costa Rica

Joel Campbell is a player whose stats don’t tell the full story on how influential he can be throughout a game. Campbell is a constant thorn in the opposition’s half; whether he’s chasing 40-yard balls down, drawing free-kicks or looking to interchange with Ruben Castro – Betis’ usual centre-forward. Campbell is usually deployed on either flank as a winger or wide-midfielder. The Betis fans have warmed to him because of his positive mentality on the pitch and his quiet nature off it. Of course, there are slight problems with his overall game, especially his final ball.

Campbell would be a brilliant asset for Arsenal, should he be granted a work permit in the summer. With many saying that Arsenal should play a 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1, Campbell would thrive from this formation. We shouldn’t accommodate a young player by adjusting our whole system, but with the possible inclusion of someone like Jovetic in the summer, who can play in the hole, the 4-4-1-1 seems a possible tactical option for Wenger. Campbell would play as the wide-midfielder, and he’d give his full-back a lot of defensive support. His ball retention and tackling makes me think he isn’t cut out to be your everyday out-and-out striker; he offers a lot more to the general play in a wider position. Although having said that, his versatility could come in handy. Should Arsenal be thin on the centre-forward front I have no doubt Joel could fill in. I don’t think Campbell should be loaned out again next season, although many seem to believe otherwise. He could prove to be a very vital and versatile player to have off the bench if we need a goal or need to hang on to a narrow lead. He could learn a lot from finally being at his prestigious parent club (not a dig at Lorient or Betis in the slightest). If we offload Bendtner, Park and Chamakh then Campbell should definitely be kept as a squad player. If we don’t, then I’m sure we’ll see him move out on loan to a premier league club. 

Thanks Chris, great to have a view from someone who has watched Joel all season. From what I have seen I tend to agree. He plays predominantly for Betis in the wide right role primarily occupied by Walcott for Arsenal. His final pass/decision making I would  suggest is where Theo’s was at the same age 3 years back but he certainly has far more discipline than Theo did at 20/21. His defensive work and fitness are superb and I would certainly rank him higher than Oxlade-Chamberlain or Walcott in that department. The success Betis have enjoyed this season has not been down to their prolific scoring but more down to a superb defensive record, against all barring the very top sides, and the whole team including Joel can take huge credit for that. Campbell’s work rate and fitness are fabulous but please don’t think he will not be asset in attack. He has a freer role for Costa Rica and plays more centrally and has a healthy return of about 1 in 3 at full international level. 7 in 22 is none to0 shabby for a young talent not yet 21.

Back at Arsenal in July for Pre-Season?

Much was made a few weeks ago about Joel wishing to stay at Betis for European football and how he felt at home there. There has also been quotes from the Betis coach Pepe Mel about wishing to retain Joel’s services for another year.  However it was this quote from Joel that obviously made the bash Arsenal headlines:

“I feel very comfortable and have identified with the team and people of Betis. I love the city, and if I have to stay I am available. Hopefully we will be in Europe too.”

The following line from the quote did not make the headline:

He continued: “I do not deny that I would love to show what I have in a team like Arsenal.”

Regardless of what Mel, Betis or the press say or think this one is down to one man. Arsene, it’s over to you…

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35 yrs a Gunner through thick & thin. Launched my own blog in Feb 12. Positive, original & different I hope as there are so many to chose from.
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