By Tony Attwood
Joel Campbell has completed a transfer of a little under £1m from Deportivo Saprissa – a record for a Costa Rican player. I feel a little attachment to the lad already since I have actually been to the country, and loved every second of it – except perhaps flying over the mountains from the west coast to the east in a five seater plane and throwing up over the pilot.
But leaving such indelicate matters aside it has also become clear from Young Guns Blog that Saprissa has entered a partnership deal with Arsenal. Saprissa execs said that the plan was to exchange training ideas and create an Academy, where Arsenal and Saprissa would choose from the best of Costa Rica.
Saprissa officials will be coming to London to explore how the whole thing will work.
Joel has signed a five-year-contract and will use the number 12 shirt. Arsenal now apply for a work-permit. If that doesn’t arrive the player will be loaned out unless he can use his mother’s connections to get dual nationality.
AC Milan and Barcelona have been tracking the player according to the Daily Mirror (well, yes, I know). He has played six times for the Costa Rica and has also played at Under-17 and Under-20, level, scoring goals each time. He is said to have place, power and technique.
So why did it seem on, and then off? One reason is that Barca perhaps said they would screw up every Arsenal transfer until Cesc went to warm their bench and plunge them deeper into debt. Another might be that Arsenal concluded the player deal but were still working on the Academy exchange deal. Now that could be something worth seeing – supposing our brightest who wanted a bit of time out, were loaned into Costa Rica to get some real competitive games. No good for getting a passport clearance, but great if you already have one.
This means that thus far we have the following players whom we did not have with us for all or most of last season
- Vermaelen (out injured last year)
- Frimpong (injured last year)
- Ryo (unable to play due to no work permit)
- AOC (transfer)
- Jenkinson (transfer)
- Gervinho (transfer)
- Joel Campbell (transfer but awaiting clearance)
Now is that enough? Not according to many people who are against Wenger. But let us also remember that poor chap Roberto Mancini, because he has been having a go at the Man City board because they have not concluded transfers. They might get Nasri, but letting someone (guess) go the other way is a problem.
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“Last year was the same too,” Mr M said. “I don’t understand this. I thought we could get all the players we needed three or four weeks ago. But here we are and the deals aren’t closed.
“We need Nasri. I asked for this player two months ago. I’m worried because I don’t have this player today and I probably won’t have him tomorrow. We play three games in August and I am worried.”
The Nasri deal has been held up because the clubs are arguing about the structure of the payments for a deal that would cost City in the region of £23m.
Mr Mancini is said to have fallen out with our old chum Brian Marwood, and has admitted that he (Mancini) is not speaking to him (Brian). “I hope that we can get the players I asked for two months ago. Monday is the start of the season for us and we have not completed our team. I hope we can do this very quickly because we need other players.”
He almost sounds like an anti-Wengerian who claims to be an Arsenal fan!
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