Arsenal FC: The Time is Now for Nicklas Bendtner to Move On From the Club
There are two schools of thought on Nicklas Bendtner.
Some see the 23-year-old Danish forward as an unrealized talent that has yet to win the requisite playing time to prove his worth with Arsene Wenger's Arsenal squad. He has displayed the occasional brilliance, hinting at a potential that may still exist within the player.
Others see a frustratingly over-confident player, someone who sees himself as a legend of the game, despite his knack for missing sitters from point-blank range and a recent propensity for injury. Some of his notorious misses can boggle the mind if one analyzes them closely.
Arsene Wenger has long touted the skills and potential of the tall, confident young lad in the pink boots, often to the bewilderment of many supporters.
Does he not see what we see? Or does he see far more than we do, allowing him unrivaled insight into the players that we think we know so well?
In all fairness to Nicklas, he is not always utilized in his optimal position, occasionally being deployed on a wing, rather than in his most-effective central forward role. To maximize the value of his arialability, his greatest asset, he would benefit from finding himself in front of the goal, rather than stranded out on the flanks.
Despite his sometimes accurate reputation for missing golden opportunities, Bendtner owns a solid return of 45 goals for Arsenal in 153 appearances since the 2007/08 season. Though it's not a record-setting goal-rate, it is certainly respectable for a player used often as a substitute, and at times, out of position.
However, with Robin van Persie and now, Marouane Chamakh ahead of him in Arsenal's pecking order, Bendtner has been forced to take any playing time he is afforded, whether the position suits him well or not.
Maybe it's his superbly accurate crossing ability that makes Wenger want to deploy him outside, taking advantage of a skill not present in several current Gunners.
Bendtner has seen the writing on the wall, and as any player would, has made his preference clear. If he is not integral to Arsenal's plans, then he needs to move on.
He is a figure that critics love to hate, an underachieving striker with the confidence of Pele. Bendtnerhas been quoted as saying that he is "capable of being the best forward in the world." While the self-assuredness is an admirable trait in an athlete, there is so-far, little evidence to support the ambitious claim.
Is it wrong for an athlete to possess supreme self-confidence though? To perform at the highest levels of athletic competition, a player must have significant self-belief in order to deliver his best under the scrutiny of the footballing world.
For whatever reason, despite his own evaluation of himself, and the admiration of his manager,Nicklas Bendtner has failed to win over the Gunner faithful.
Now, as Wenger has moved to strengthen his squad ahead of the 2011/12 season, with the signing of Ivorian forward Gervinho, Bendtner finds one more obstacle in his path.
Prior to the arrival of Gervinho, Bendtner and his father, who also serves as his agent, had stated the Dane's desire to move on from the Emirates.
As quoted in The Daily Mirror during the month of May, his father stated, "Nicklas is 100% open now to a change of clubs, he has made his decision and he has told it to Arsenal."
"Nicklas needs to be playing regularly from the start so, sadly, he must leave."
"There is real interest from both English and German clubs, and Bayern Munich were after him earlier. It's all very exciting."
Following the Gervinho signing, signs have grown even clearer that the time is now for a change.
With Arsenal traveling through Asia for a pre-season tour, Bendtner was left off the touring roster, instead staying behind to finalize his intended move.
The player had been the subject of speculation from several clubs on the continent, includingBorussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Hamburg, Sporting Lisbon, and AC Milan.
Much of that was likely only rumor, stirred by a sensation-seeking football press.
Just as quickly as those rumors materialized, they have been shot down by officials from some of the clubs mentioned.
Sporting director for Hamburg, Frank Arnesen said, "it would take a small miracle to secure his signature."
"We need more creativity in our offence. A midfielder with quality would be good for us,'' Arnesentold Hamburger Abendblatt. "Bendtner would be a real dream, he is a very interesting player.
"He can also play as an attacking midfielder behind the attacker. But it would almost amount to a small miracle for us to get him. There are two other clubs who have made Nicklas an offer and we are unfortunately not in that position.''
Dortmund also dismissed the rumors, as they apparently believe a move for Bendtner does not fit in with their existing plans. Club chief executive officer Hans-Joachim Watzke stated, "There has never been an offer from Borussia Dortmund for Nicklas Bendtner,'' according to Hamburger Abendblatt. "Of course we could make larger transfers ... but we don't want to borrow any money.''
Media speculation has continued to revolve around potential moves to AC MIlan, Sporting Lisbon or possibly Benfica, after the denials from the German clubs.
Back at Arsenal, with an attacking corps that boasts RvP, Samir Nasri, Theo Walcott, Chamakh, AndreArshavin, Carlos Vela and now Gervinho, it would appear that Bendtner is a surplus player.
Despite Wenger's confidence in the young man, and his own lofty ambitions, it is likely time to move on in order to achieve the things Bendtner believes himself to be capable of.
Whether that is in Germany, Italy, Portugal, or elsewhere, I wish him luck.