Mr Bendtner is a man who creates waves, everyone has an opinion about Nik and for a man who has yet to play a consistent first team role in the Premiership, he attracts an enormous amount of publicity. Why? Perhaps it is his self-belief that rubs the humble Anglo – Saxon mentality up the wrong way or is it his happy swagger and the fact he finds football amusing?
This post is not designed to defend Nik (though in places it surely will), it is my perspective as to whether Arsenal should remain his employer.
I reside in Denmark where Nik is perceived with superstar status. Coming from a small country with a football mad population of just over 5 million, he is the shining star; the successor to the Laudrup brothers, Peter Schmeichel, Preben Elkjær and Johnny Jensen (OK, maybe not JJ) he is lauded wherever he goes. Front cover of all the society mags, front cover of the tabloids, the face of advertising campaigns, and the reason why every Arsenal game is shown on Danish TV.
Bendtner was still in Arsenal’s youth team when he received his first International cap, scoring on debut. He had already played in the U-21 World Cup at the age of 17, scoring regularly. He was voted Denmark’s Player of Year at both youth and senior level. He was poached by Mr Wenger at just 16 and made his first team debut at just 18.
Is it any wonder this lad has self-confidence?
The question is, where does he go from here? Has he a first team future at Arsenal, and if not should he be sold?
This season started badly for Nik who had a tough World Cup campaign, picking up a muscle injury before South Africa but considered so important that he played in all Denmark’s games and scored against Cameroon. He came back to Arsenal crocked, was unable to get any pre-season and consequently has had a stop-start season.
However his stats are very good. This season despite only starting 14 games (+ 12 subs), he has scored 9 and had 7 assists. In his Arsenal career he has started 79 games (+71 subs) and scored 45 with 22 assists. These are the returns of a top striker, especially one of a man who only recently turned 23 y.o.
Yet a percentage of Arsenal fans remain unconvinced. How many times do we read of his “dreadful first touch”, his lack of pace or his inability to turn a game? His self-confidence is seen as a negative (which to me seems a ridiculous argument) – he is too big for his boots etc etc.
My concerns lie more with where he fits into the current Arsenal squad.
We have yet to see where Bendtner’s natural position lies. He is neither fish nor fowl. As far as I can see he has the strength to lead the line and yet his passing ability is such that his talents are wasted as a target man. He has the vision to play as second striker but AW prefers to play him on the right when allied with RvP (I have yet to see the benefit of using NB as a winger). He is superb in the air (witness the brilliant header v Orient), yet doesn’t attack the 6 yard line when the ball comes in from the wings. He has fine dribbling skills yet continually tries to beat too many players and loses the ball. His first touch is inconsistent – compare the first touch for his goal v Ipswich compared to the one in the dying minutes at Camp Nou.
My guess is that Mr Wenger views him with similar perplexity. Our first choice strikers must be RvP and Theo with Nasri or Arshavin completing the frontline. We have a choice of Vela, Chamakh or Bendtner for the bench and rotation, and I cannot understand the signing of Chamakh if he is to be 5th choice striker. As such Nik must be considered well down the pecking order for 2011/12. Will his ego/agent accept this?
How must Nik feel when having scored so many goals on the way to Wembley, that he didn’t get a starting role? Furious, I imagine. How does he feel about the signing of Chamakh when he has yet to be given a proper run at CF? How does a man who believes he is one of the World’s top strikers feel about being on the bench week after week?
In my opinion he has to seek pastures new, though I would be very sad to see him go. I just cannot see where he fits into Arsenal’s future. We need another striker but it is not NB, it is a proper left winger or a fox-in-the-box. RvP’s propensity for injury is the only reason I can see for keeping him, and even in this case, I would prefer to see Walcott take a more central role. I cannot see NB being prepared to accept al ong-term role as second-string right winger, can you?
So, if it is true that Bundesliga clubs have Bendter as a summer target then I am afraid we should take the money and watch his career blossom elsewhere. My main problem with this being that Danish TV will start to show German soccer instead of my beloved Arsenal. On second thoughts, BENDTNER MUST STAY
Hot News – The Fun Run to raise funds for Arsenal’s chosen charity Centrepoint is this Saturday. There wil be kids and adult events running around the outside of the Emirates from 10.45. If you’re coming to watch the game in Club level get down there early to be part of the fun. See you there. peachesgooner
Be a Gooner, Be a Giver – Saturday 19th March
One of our young gooners has signed up to do the Fun Run this Saturday for Arsenal’s chosen charity Centrepoint and it would be fantastic if any of you felt you wanted to support her and the charity by donating on her giving page.
The Fun Run will take place at the Emirates stadium this Saturday the 19th March 2011. Centrepoint do such good work for homeless young people in London and Arsenal are hoping to raise £500,000 this season to help fund the refurbishment of a facility in Soho.