Joel Campbell has heaped praise on the set-up at loan club Lorient after his season long spell at the Ligue 1 club drew to a close this weekend.
The Costa Rican international, who was denied a British work permit after being snapped up by Arsene Wenger last summer, looks set to return to London in the coming weeks after a year garnering valuable experience under Christian Gourcuff’s tutelage.
Speaking to Arsenal.com, Campbell drew comparisons between his time in France and the couple of months he spent training with the Gunners first team squad last summer.
“The philosophy here at Lorient is the same as Arsenal’s. The way they train, the way they play is all very similar to Arsenal. That makes it easier for Arsenal to send players to Lorient because they’re going to learn the same things that they learn there.
“I came here just before the fourth round of games in Ligue 1 and they gave me the best possible welcome. They helped me and got me settled down quickly in the team so I could help them and the side. Lorient play a very similar game to Arsenal and that’s helped me for what lies ahead.”
Arsenal have forged a close link with Lorient in the last couple of years with Gilles Sunu and Francis Coquelin making loan moves last year and the former, along with Jeremie Aliadiere, making a permanent switches to the Stade du Moustoir after a personal recommendations from Arsene Wenger.
Confirming that he sought advice from Sunu, after following in his footsteps, Campbell continued:
“Gilles Sunu told me that when you come on loan it’s difficult because you know you’re not going to play the whole season or the following season, which makes it very difficult to keep your place. We have to show everything we can to play the maximum number of games.”
While Lorient have benefitted from an assortment of Arsenal Academy graduates, it is the move made by Laurent Koscielny to N5 which has proved the most high-profile bit of business between the clubs.
Speaking to the official matchday programme ahead of the Norwich game, the French international stressed that time spent by young loanees at his former club would be very beneficial.
“It’s great for the players to go there. When they arrive at Lorient nothing changes for them – it’s the same kind of football, the same philosophy, a good atmosphere to work in.
“It’s straightforward for them to adapt and play for a club that has a lot in common with this one. I learned a lot in my time there, and the two managers have similar views on the game. It’s an excellent place to develop.”
It remains to be seen what happens to Joel Campbell next season. Facing a nervous wait to find out if he qualifies for a work permit, you can’t help but think he still lacks the necessary experience to slot in as a back-up to messrs Van Persie (presuming he stays) and Podolski.