Joel Campbell signed for Arsenal in 2011, from Costa Rican club Saprissa as a 19 year-old. Since then, he has left on loan five times - Lorient, Real Betis, Olympiacos, Villarreal, and Sporting Lisbon - totaling 118 appearances between his five stints abroad. Only twice in the last six years he’s been under contract at Arsenal has Joel played for his parent club, during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons, making 23 appearances combined.
Today, Joel Campbell leaves again on loan, this time back to Real Betis through the end of this season. This will undoubtedly be the last time Joel leaves on loan from Arsenal, since his contract expires on June 30, 2018.
Never bad enough to sell, yet never good enough to keep around, Joel’s legacy at Arsenal will be defined by a flashy skillset, an ability to make a deft pass here and there, a decent shot, and not much else. His talent was redundant to players much better than him at the moment, and outside of his year spent in Greece he didn’t pose much of a scoring threat primarily playing from an attacking position.
In the end, Joel represents yet another dismal showing of a player bought by Arsenal in the dawn of his career that never paid out the exponential rate of return on the initial investment hoped for by the club.
He got out while he could, did Joel. On six different occasions, in fact. Today being the final time.