Arsenal’s on-loan striker Nicklas Bendtner has had an illustrious career presenting himself as an obnoxious, arrogant and self-centred centre forward on the field, while off the field claiming he should be among the greatest strikers in the world right now.
It is this attitude that has seen him fall out of favour with the Emirates crowd, not only for being continuously outspoken about his own ability, but for his continuous lack of not being able to put his words into action. Had the Dane delivered, he probably would be forming a formidable partnership with Robin van Persie right now.
Bendtner’s last season with the Gunners, in the 2010-2011 campaign, saw the best and worst of the striker, and it was the inconsistency and unreliability that forced him to the bench so many times.
He scored an outstanding goal against Newcastle in the FA Cup and the decisive goal against Ipswich in the semifinal of the Carling Cup, a curling effort from outside the box that took the Gunners to the Carling Cup final.
But it was against Barcelona in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal that brought ire and discontent from the fans to Bendtner’s doorstep. In the final minutes of the game, with 10 men after van Persie was harshly sent off, Bendtner had a glorious opportunity to put Arsenal through by the away goals rule but fluffed his lines in a virtually open goal.
After that, Wenger opted to leave him on the bench for the majority of the remaining season, which persuaded his decision to leave. He was reported saying many times over the summer how he would never play for Arsenal again.
But it wasn’t until the last day of the summer transfer window that Arsenal fans heard the news he would be leaving. Joy soon turned to disappointment when the deal was only a season-long loan to Sunderland.
So far, Bendtner has only scored seven goals in 25 appearances for the Black Cats, a poor rate of return for any striker. Though he is on a hot streak at the moment—four goals in his last five starts—he has often drifted in and out of games too much.
Controversy surrounded the Dane in March when he and club captain Lee Cattermole were arrested for vandalising parked cars near the home of their arch rivals Newcastle United. If this is how the striker has progressed since his loan spell, many Arsenal fans will not want him back.
The Daily Mail reported today that Bendtner seems to be indifferent toward his future, hinting at a possible return to the Emirates—a complete change in stance before he left for Sunderland in August.
There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks of Wenger preparing to jettison "dead wood" in the squad. The likes of Denilson, Carlos Vela, Sebastien Squillaci, Marouane Chamakh and Ju Young Park have all been linked to the exit door. If this is true, Bendtner will surely be among the names to go.
Would Wenger be prepared to give Bendtner a second chance?