After four rocky years with English Premier League club Arsenal, Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell finally scored his first goal in league play during his first-ever start with the team, which has perpetually had him on loan.
The 23-year-old Costa Rican scored in the 74th minute of Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Swansea on Saturday when star midfielder Mesut Ozil played a great cross that was picked up by Campbell and his bright pink shoes.
The goal was timely for Campbell’s career, as manager Arsene Wenger said at a press conference this week that patience is running thin with the talented, but largely unproductive Campbell.
“I wanted to keep him here,” Wenger told reporters. “I felt he has been on loan two or three times and that it is now or never for him with us.”
In August, Campbell scored in his only preseason appearance for Arsenal in a 5-1 win over S.L. Benefica in the Emirates Cup. But before Saturday, Campbell had yet to log any playing time during the regular season for Arsenal. The young striker should continue to play important minutes for the Gunners going forward as injuries to players ahead of him, like Theo Walcott, have opened the door for Campbell.
After bouncing around on loan with other European clubs like Villareal in Spain, Wenger acknowledged that its been difficult for Campbell to develop a rhythm with his English club.
“For him, you belong to a club, you go one time out, two times out then after that you don’t know any more if you belong to the club or not,” Wenger said.
Arsenal is second in the Premier League standings at 7-1-2, just behind Manchester City. The Gunners will next play on Wednesday in the Champions League against German power Bayern Munich.