x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Arsenal’s Wenger on Campbell: ‘Lots of enquiries and we’ve turned them down’

'There have been plenty of clubs interested' in a loan deal for Joel Campbell, says Arsene Wenger, but insists the Costa Rican is staying, adding 'when I say no it's no.'

Joel Campbell shown during the 2014 World Cup, where he helped Costa Rica reach the quarter-finals. Robert Cianflone / Getty Images / June 14, 2014
Joel Campbell shown during the 2014 World Cup, where he helped Costa Rica reach the quarter-finals. Robert Cianflone / Getty Images / June 14, 2014

Arsene Wenger insists Joel Campbell will stay at Arsenal after resisting repeated attempts by other clubs to take him on loan.

Campbell was a star of Costa Rica’s World Cup campaign but is only on the fringe of Wenger’s first team with just one substitute appearance so far this season.

With Oliver Giroud sidelined because of a broken tibia until January, Wenger has asked Alexis Sanchez to operate as the lone striker with the inexperienced Yaya Sanogo also filling in.

Campbell is an option as well and having spent all three years of his Arsenal career on loan at Lorient, Real Betis and Olympiakos, Wenger views the 22-year-old as part of his plans.

“We’ve had lots of enquiries and turned them down. There have been plenty of clubs interested, but I don’t know how many,” Wenger said.

“Once I say to my assistant he won’t go out on loan, even if people ask about him, my assistant doesn’t even tell me. When I say no it’s no.

“He’s definitely a target and a player who is wanted by many clubs.”

Speculation over whether Arsenal will sign a new top-level striker before Monday’s transfer deadline has dominated the build-up to their Premier League trip to Leicester City on Sunday.

Wenger has not ruled out acquiring a new forward to replace Giroud, but has stressed it is not essential for Arsenal to be title contenders and will only buy who he believes is the right fit.

In contrast, Manchester United have engaged in a late flurry of business by signing Angel di Maria with the arrival of Daley Blind imminent.

United have reacted to a dismal start to the season, but Wenger has little sympathy with his old rivals and refuses to discuss a succession plan at Arsenal in light of the slump at Old Trafford following Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure.

“Let’s be a little patient because Manchester United have just started the season,” Wenger said.

“They will come back and I don’t worry too much for them because they have made us suffer enough in the past.

“If you look at the names they have in their squad, once it works out they will be a force again in the Premier League.”

When asked about how best to introduce his own successor, Wenger replied: “The ideal world exists only in the imagination of the human being.

“Once you leave a club you want it to go as well as possible.

“That’s what Ferguson wanted as well. If it’s not working as well as expected, then it’s not Ferguson’s fault.

“You do well as long as you can. It’s competition and cyclical as well. My only focus is to win the next game.”

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