What happened to José Campaña?
OLLY GREENWOOD/AFP via Getty Images)

Jose Campaña rose through the ranks of the Sevilla's youth academy, an establishment famous for producing world renowned talent such as World Cup and multiple Champions League winning defender Sergio Ramos, and former Manchester City, and Premier League winning wide man Jesus Navas.  

Campaña was destined for big things from a young age. By 18, he was a regular starter for Sevilla and was making a name for himself in the Spanish national side youth set up, with his passing ability so well established for someone of such a young age. 

Although Campaña had played a role in Spain's under-19 European Championship winning team of 2011, it was at the same tournament the following year where he really caught the headlines. Campaña had topped off his impressive debut season by playing an integral part in helping Spain defend their title in Estonia in 2012; not only did he play in every game in the tournament, he also had the honour of captaining ‎his national side on a number of occasions during the tournament, lifting the trophy after Spain defeated Greece in the final.

Campaña's performances saw him named in the Team of the Tournament, alongside Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, Barcelona centre back Samuel Umtiti and Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez.    

When the 2012/13 season came around, Campaña was expected to build on his excellent first year for Sevilla. However, injuries plagued his second season, with a groin strain seeing him miss the start of the new campaign.

As he started to make his way back into the first team, injury struck again as he suffered a fracture in his left foot which resigned Campaña to surgery. This would sideline the midfielder for the rest of the season, leaving him with a total of six appearances and thus halting his steady progression in its tracks. 

Although Campaña had not played a single minute of football for Sevilla in over seven months, he was named in Spain's Under 20 side for the 2013 World Cup. He made an appearance in every game and captained Spain yet again, despite that, he was sent home early from the tournament, as Spain were knocked out by Uruguay in the quarterfinals. 

His move to Palace    

Crystal Palace had just won promotion to the Premier League and the Eagles were looking to add to a touch of quality and elegance to the robust midfield duo of Mile Jedinak and Kagisho Dikgacoi

Palace had already broken their record transfer fee in the same window, signing striker Dwight Gayle from Peterborough, but when rumours started circulating that Spain's Under 20 captain was potentially on his way to Selhurst Park; it created sheer anticipation as it was the first taste for Palace fans of the type of signings being a Premier League club would attract.

After he failed to agree a new contract at Sevilla, Campaña joined the Eagles for a reported fee of £1.75 million, and the then 20 year old committed himself to a four year stay in South London

"I'm delighted to become a Crystal Palace player." Campaña told Palace's official website. He added, “I got the first interest through my agent, who said that Crystal Palace were interested and straight away I said ‘yes’ because for me it was a dream to play in England, especially in the Premier League. I hope to help the team stay in the League and then move forward."

Manager Ian Holloway was delighted that Palace had been able to pull off such a coup for the newly promoted side, "I think he’s a fantastic player, his maturity is unbelievable, and the way he plays the game is the way I believe it should be played. He’s going to be a great star of the future and the present."

In 2013, Spanish football was all the rage; Spain were the current holders of the World Cup and had lifted the European Championship trophy only a year prior; they were dominating the footballing world and Palace had got their hands on one of the countries hottest talents.

The start of the season and the fall of Ian Holloway

The start of the season saw Palace welcome Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham Hotspur side to Selhurst Park after an eight year absence in the top flight. Campaña failed to make it off the bench for the entire 90 minutes. As the Eagles fell to a 1-0 loss, it became clear that Palace were missing an inspiration on the pitch to really take the game to the opposition. 

Campaña made his first start a week later. Although Palace lost to a Stoke City side with an abundance of Premier League experience, the 2-1 defeat did indicate that Ian Holloway's side had the potential to succeed in the world's most competitive league. 

Palace only picked up one win in their first eight Premier League games; a 4-1 loss to Fulham had sentenced Ian Holloway to the inevitable. Holloway left after the Fulham game as he struggled to find a successful formula to fit the 16 new signings made during the summer into the team. 

Campaña had shown promise in his first few appearances; he had two assists to his name by the first seven games, and his set piece taking looked a dangerous asset for Palace’s artillery going forward.  

The arrival of Tony Pulis 

Tony Pulis replaced Ian Holloway and this all but sealed the kiss of death for Jose Campaña's Crystal Palace career. When Pulis took over, the Eagles were firmly rooted to the bottom three, with the Premier League journey looking well and truly over before it really began. 

Pulis demanded a side with a hard working attitude and his play style was never based around possession. Campaña was signed to be the player to have time on the ball and dictate play at his own pace; under Pulis this would have never worked, especially for a side fighting an uphill battle to stay in the Premier League. 

In January 2014, Campaña was sent on loan to FC Nürnberg to help the side try and stay in the Bundesliga. Germany proved more suited to Campaña's style of play, and even though Nürnberg were relegated, Campaña had impressed during his short time on loan. 

Campaña never made an appearance for Crystal Palace again; Pulis opted for the experience in the middle, with Jason Puncheon being the key creative man next to Jedinak and Dikgacoi; a decision which proved correct as Puncheon finished joint top goal scorer for the Eagles that season, and was a fundamental warrior in Pulis' army to fight relegation.  

Rebuilding his career  

After playing just over 300 minutes of football for Crystal Palace, Jose Campaña was sold to Italian side Sampdoria for a fee close to what Palace had originally paid for the Spanish starlet. Rumours were rife after his departure that Campaña enjoyed the London party lifestyle a little too much and this had hindered his start to life at Crystal Palace. 

Campaña never played a game for Sampdoria; he was immediately loaned to Porto to work under Spanish manager Julen Lopetegui. However Campaña failed to make a case for a regular starting position for the Portuguese side.

Time was running out for Campaña to really make a name for himself and to live up to the praise and adulation that surrounded him as a teenager. A loan move to AD Alcorcon in the Segunda Division (Spain's second division) seemed to revitalise Campaña's career; he had finally found a home in their midfield and for the first season in over four years, Campaña completed over 30 games. 

His impressive display at AD Alcorcon earned him a move back to La Liga with Levante UD in 2016. Now 26, Campaña has been earning praise in Spain for his performances for Levante; he has made nearly 150 appearances for the side and racked up 33 goal contributions so far.

Although things didn’t worked out for Campaña at Selhurst Park, it was always going to be tough for him to earn a place back in the side once Pulis arrived. Campaña is finally showing the potential that was awarded to him as a youth; a move back to Sevilla was on the cards last season with a €30 million price tag the fee attached to the Spanish wizard; it looks as if he, like a fine wine, is maturing with age. 

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