Joel Campbell wanted Arsenal stay: I could've done well under Emery

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The Costa Rica international believes he could have thrived under the Spaniard at Emirates Stadium, but is happy to have linked up with Frosinone

Joel Campbell has revealed he had been hoping to remain at Arsenal once Unai Emery succeeded Arsene Wenger, but is enjoying a spell in Serie A which could soon see him joined by Aaron Ramsey.

The Costa Rica international spent seven years on the books at Emirates Stadium before eventually heading for pastures new in the summer of 2018.

His time in north London proved to be eventful, with work permit issues delaying his competitive bow for the Gunners as he was forced to become something of a loan ranger.

Stints at Lorient, Real Betis and Olympiakos were taken in before getting his break, with another move then made to Villarreal.

The 2015-16 campaign proved to be Campbell’s most productive as an Arsenal player, as he took in 30 appearances and netted four goals, but he was soon heading out once more to Sporting CP and back to Betis.

The 26-year-old believes a change in manager could have offered him a clean slate, but Emery instead decided to  sell him to Frosinone on a permanent deal, signing a three-year contract .

Campbell told Goal of his Arsenal experience: "To be able to train and to play with those players was great. Wenger is a fairly quiet coach, but I liked him because he was one who gave a lot of freedom to his players on the pitch: he believed in the most technical players and he tried to put them in the starting XI.

"I have no regrets because I tried to use my opportunities and I don't think I did badly when I was called into action.

"This summer I believed I could be part of Emery's project, I spoke with the coach and the club, I was sure that I could do well in a technical system like that of the Spanish coach but the club had different ideas. It was a great experience that I will never forget because English football is something gigantic."

Aaron Ramsey Arsenal Juventus

Having taken the decision to head for Italy, a former colleague of Campbell’s is about to follow that lead, with Wales international midfielder Ramsey closing in on a move to Juventus as a free agent .

"If Juventus sign him then they are making a big signing, because Ramsey is a great player and a very good guy," said Campbell.

"He's the archetypal 'box-to-box' player, he can play in every position of the midfield. Juventus would become stronger with him."

Not that the Bianconeri need much strengthening, with the defending Serie A champions enjoying another campaign of domestic dominance with five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo now on their books.

"I think they have few rivals in Italy because they're a very strong team in the starting XI, but they also have people on the bench who would be starters in every other team," said Campbell.

"Then they have Ronaldo, who is a unique player. When you add the greatest player in the world - along with [Lionel] Messi, of course - into an already strong team, you become automatically one of the favourites to win the Champions League."

Ronaldo was among the goals when Frosinone suffered a 2-0 defeat to Juventus in September , with Campbell given an early taste of how testing life in Serie A can be.

Bernardeschi Ronaldo Frosinone Juventus

He said of those challenges: "Every game is a battle, every team is so well-organised, there are few spaces and it's really hard to score.

"Everybody says that Italian football is very tactical and it's true, but there are other leagues like that, such as the French one. In my opinion what makes Italian football so unique is the defensive phase. Ligue 1 is influenced by freshness, strength and athleticism of the young players, in Spain they prefer technique, in England there is less tactics and more intensity."

Frosinone are currently competing among the Italian elite for just the second time in the club’s history, having previously graced that level for a solitary season in 2015-16.

They are battling to avoid another step down in the current campaign, sat six points from safety at present, but Campbell believes in the project he has joined and the ability of an underdog to defy the odds.

He added: "I was welcomed very warmly by the club, by my team-mates and the fans.

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"Serie A is one of the best European divisions, the competition is very fierce and the quality is high. I'm very satisfied with the choice I made.

"Here at Frosinone, everything is very professional. The club is very professional, takes care of everything that the players need, the stadium is a gem and the fans are great. I would say they are more like South Americans than English, because they are very passionate and they always support us, both in good times and in the more difficult moments.

"There is the right spirit on the field and away from the pitch to do great things. We're considered doomed by many, but we believe we can avoid relegation. We battle day by day, we have a strong, compact group and the distance from those who are above us is not so big - a couple of victories and everything comes back into the equation."

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