Nicklas Bendtner: Can the Dane Save his Dwindling Career at Arsenal?
Nicklas Bendtner is widely regarded as the self-proclaimed world’s best striker. Arsenal snapped him up from obscurity in 2005 and offered him a chance at top-flight football but with limited opportunities for the great Dane, he was offered a learning route through Birmingham City in the Championship and the Dane hugely impressed there.
In subsequent campaigns, he featured in Cup ties as well as some league fixtures but his big break arrived in the 2009/10 campaign, when the red-hot Robin van Persie was sidelined for a lengthy spell following a rash tackle from Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in a meaningless friendly match.
Bendtner became the centre of attention and he scored some vital last-gasp goals with the games against Hull and Wolves being the most notable. There was even time to get a first hattrick in Arsenal colors against Porto. The return to full fitness of van Persie relegated Bendtner to the bench, and his chances of featuring were few and far between. Wenger offered him a new role on the right flank but the Dane was rightly dissatisfied in that playing position.
Despite linked with moves to various clubs that summer, Bendtner had to make do with a deadline day loan switch to Sunderland and he revealed that his omission from the starting line-up in the 2011 Carling Cup final played a key role in him leaving the club.
While at Sunderland, Bendtner revealed that he’ll never play for Arsenal again and with Robin van Persie as shining as bright as supernova, no one really cared. He notched up 30 games for the Black Cats, netting eight goals in the process but with his wages and probably other issues being constraints, the Black Cats pulled the plug and he was back to the club he never vowed to play for.
After some more speculation about a potential move away from the Emirates, Bendtner made another transfer deadline day switch to Juventus and injuries as well as stiff competition in attack saw Bendtner’s chances of featuring for the Old Lady go downhill. After just 10 appearances all season long, the Dane failed to register his name on the score sheet before he was shipped back to the Emirates.
With Arsenal’s pursuit for a new striker that would’ve offered some competition to Giroud, it seemed more than likely that the Gunners were going to cut their losses on Bendtner and he was on the verge of sealing a move to Eintracht Frankfurt but the club surprisingly backed out, which showed how low his stock had fallen.
On transfer deadline day, Crystal Palace were odds on to seal the deal for the want-away Dane but Arsenal severed the deal after their failed pursuit of Demba Ba from Chelsea. An obviously crestfallen Bendtner expressed his sheer disappointment in remaining at the Emirates (via ESPN),
“Many things have been said about my where my future lies after many years at Arsenal. The truth is I just want to play football which is when I’m happiest and Arsenal is a fantastic environment for any professional to apply their trade.”
“I still feel very strongly about Arsenal and following positive talks with the manager, I am looking forward to working hard to regain full fitness and doing my very best to help to the team and the manager fulfill our objectives and ambitions this season.”
“I’ve learnt a lot from my loan experiences at Sunderland and Juventus and I want to assure all Arsenal fans that I will give everything I have to contribute to what I believe will be a successful season for the club.”
Arsene Wenger, in his infinite wisdom, has decided to retain the services of Nicklas Bendtner, following the long-term injury to Lukas Podolski. The manager has signed the unproven French youngster, Yaya Sanogo, and the club still has the enigmatic Korean, Park Chu-Young, in its ranks, but the manager has opted to work with Bendtner, a forward with an ego the size of an elephant.
As Arseblog rightly quoted, Nicklas Bendtner may not be as good as he thinks he is, but he’s not also as bad as the fans say he is.
His track record on the international scene is pretty impressive if you ask me, with 22 goals scored in 55 games for Denmark. I also fancy Nicklas Bendtner getting another shot for the following reasons:
His goal-to-game ratio at Arsenal is quite impressive, considering the fact that he’s not a first team regular. In every season he played for Arsenal bar his first (where he was away on loan at Birmingham), Bendtner closed in on double figures and he surpassed the mark twice with 15 goals (2008/09) and 12 goals (2009/10).
He has never said anything negative about Arsenal, its manager or his fellow teammates even securing loan moves to Sunderland and Juventus. Yes, he has some off field issues but he doesn’t seem to have any problem with teammates or anything too disruptive (think Mario Balotelli). In the 2010/11 season, he scored nine goals and raked up five assists despite playing on the wing, and usually playing only the final 15 minutes when the team was already losing.
I would not expect Olivier Giroud to play every game and with Podolski injured, you don’t need any soothsayer to tell you that Bendtner would be a far better option than Yaya Sanogo. Many may tag Theo Walcott as a better replacement for Giroud but he’s better suited on the right flank where his assets come in handy.
I believe in second chances and this is definitely Nicklas Bendtner’s last chance to save what’s left of his dwindling career at Arsenal. He has been known to be a bit profligate in the past but with the creativity at Arsenal’s disposal this season, he would be among the goals if he works hard with the chances he gets. I also love the fact that he’s a massive threat in the air, which offers dynamism in the attack.
Nicklas Bendtner may believe in his abilities more than the average footballer, which makes him seem as if he’s the Hulk, even though he has been exposed to any gamma radiation but at the very least, he deserves another chance at Arsenal.
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