For Allan Campbell in 2020/21, it has definitely been the former. It’s not necessarily a bad season from the Scotland under-21 international, but in a campaign where he was expected to take his displays up a notch and properly become a talismanic figure for Motherwell it has been something of a disappointment, especially when he was threatening to do just that in August and September.
The question now is how that drop off will affect potential interest in the 22-year-old this summer. Hibs and Aberdeen reportedly have serious interest in him, but it seems unlikely that either could justifiably part with the £500,000 Motherwell would be due in a development fee.
Furthermore, in Aberdeen’s case, it’s doubtful whether Campbell would now fit into their plans with the signing of Scott Brown – to go along with current incumbents Lewis Ferguson, Ross McCrorie and Dean Campbell – demanding new boss Stephen Glass seeks out a more creative central player to balance out his midfield.
There’s a greater need for his energetic, tenacious qualities at Easter Road, but with Joe Newell, Melker Hallberg, Kyle Maggenis, Chris Cadden and Alex Gogic all tied up through next season, not to mention the club doing what they can to convince Jackson Irvine to stay, there isn’t exactly a pressing need for another central midfielder either.
It’s likely the winning offer will come from south of the border, though it remains to be seen whether his dip in form will put off potential suitors in the second tier, while £500k will likely be quite rich for a number of League One clubs (only Peterborough United paid at least that much for a single player this season). America is also an option if he chooses to follow former team-mate Cadden to the MLS.
Wherever he goes, let’s all hope that the resolution to his long-term future gets him back playing his best. Because there are few players in Scottish football easier to root for than Campbell when he’s at the top of his game.