The scout who discovered Arsenal striker Joel Campbell has revealed he received personal congratulations from Arsene Wenger after alerting the north London club to the Costa Rica international. The 23-year-old moved to The Emirates Stadium in 2011, before earning a work permit two years later allowing him to play in England.
Campbell made his international debut aged just 18 but flew under the radar of big-name clubs until he was spotted playing for Deportivo Saprissa by the Gunners' North American scout Danny Karbassiyoon. He advised the club to make a move for the forward, who has gone on to make 39 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions over the past two seasons.
Wenger's early years with Arsenal were dominated by cut-price signings of some of the best young players around the world. Though those types of additions have dried up in recent transfer windows, Wenger remains appreciative of assistance in a highly competitive market.
"When we were about to sign Joel I remember the boss [Wenger] calling me and it was a number I didn't have in my phone," Arsenal scout Karbassiyoon told Goal.com. "I wasn't sure whether to answer or not as it was from an unknown number. I said 'hello' and he said 'hey Danny it's Arsene, I just want to say a huge congratulations on finding Joel'.
"Any time you hear Arsene Wenger tell you you've done a good job in any facet of life it's a pretty good feeling, especially when you're a scout and you've done something that will benefit him as well. I'd seen Gedion Zelalem initially but because of his age Joel ended up signing first.
"That phone call caught me out of the blue. He asked me 'what do you think his strengths? What do you think his weaknesses are?' And then he said 'congratulations I hope this is the first of many''."
Despite the relative success of Campbell, Wenger has come under pressure from Arsenal fans in recent seasons for preferring low-cost signings over marquee names, with many feeling the club's competitiveness having been affected as a result. The French coach is likely to come in for more criticism this summer should he again decide not to pursue significant names.