Young players breaking into the first team is no new phenomenon at Motherwell. Allan Campbell is simply the latest in a long line of success stories, having broken into the squad as a teenager and firmly establishing himself as a key player.
Now, however, he is being linked with a move to Aberdeen or Hibernian. This is natural and Motherwell will be used to it, but they should be doing everything in their power to keep the young Scot until at least the end of the season.
Having just sold star player David Turnbull to Celtic for a club-record fee, the balance in Motherwell’s midfield has been restored. They have looked much better with Liam Polworth back in the squad, but Campbell is the real heartbeat in the side. Not only is he incredibly industrious, constantly haggling opposition players and breaking up attacks, but he’s also developed a very desirable trait in popping up with important goals himself.
If you take Campbell out of that Motherwell team, a severe drop in quality is likely. He will, of course, leave at some point; that’s part and parcel of the game for clubs like the Steelmen. Just weeks after Turnbull departed, however, it would leave Motherwell short in the midfield department with very little time to find a replacement. Liam Donnelly is already out for an extended spell through injury, so any sale would only deplete the squad more.
The main miss, however, would be Campbell’s quality. He has been a regular in the Scotland U21 squad over the past few years and it surely won’t be long before he gets a call-up to the senior side (typically, this will be more likely to happen if he moves to a bigger team). He adds a whole different dimension to Motherwell’s play and brings a variety of qualities to the table.
Hanging onto Campbell for another season will bolster Motherwell’s chances of boosting his market price as well. If the club can battle to another top six finish and Campbell continues this rich vein of form, then teams will have to pay more to secure his services. This means Motherwell would have more to spend on players who can replace the youngster properly.
Campbell leaving Lanarkshire is inevitable, but Motherwell will be much better off if they can hang on to him this year – both financially and on the pitch.