Coaches and managers across the sports world are typically all positivity, promises and praise when welcoming new players to their team in trades or transfers.
Not so much in Italy.
When it was announced Friday that 24-year-old Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner had signed a season-long loan deal to join defending Serie A champion Juventus, Juve director general Giuseppe “Beppe” Marotta told reporters:
Clearly he isn't the top player we wanted, but we needed reinforcements.
Welcome to the club!
Sure, it’s fair to say that the dashing, young Dane disappointed in his time with Arsenal, scoring 45 goals in 156 appearances for the Gunners before heading to Sunderland on loan for the 2011-12 season.
Still, there’s got to be an explanation for why he was such a highly sought-after youth player back when Arsenal came after him in 2005, right? Surely there’s some reason for excitement in adding a goal scorer capable of 20 tallies in 52 appearances for his national side.
Not in the eyes of the Juventus board, however, which was reportedly much more interested in landing a more potent striker during the transfer window.
The forwards on Juve’s list included Arsenal’s Robin van Persie, Edinson Cavani of Napoli, Manchester United veteran Dimitar Berbatov, Spaniard Fernando Llorente, Luis Suarez of Liverpool and Italian Marco Borriello.
The club got none. So it got Bendtner instead, with an option to buy him for good at the end of the season, if the interest is there.
“He does fit our requirements for a striker,” Juventus caretaker manager Massimo Carrera told reporters. “Even if due to the financial crisis we were unable to buy the players who we tracked for a long time.”
“I will not say that Bendtner is a bad player,” former Bianconeri star Alessio Tacchinardi told Sky Sports Italia. “But he does not help improve Juventus either. He is not the player that helps them make the step up in quality. I will not deny that he is a decent striker, but I would have preferred to see a different attacker join Juventus.”
In his defense, Bendtner was relatively humble upon arriving for his physical, despite dressing like a Bond villain and asking for the No. 10 jersey of recently departed Juve legend Alessandro Del Piero (he was denied the No. 10.), writing on Twitter:
I want to forfill my potential here and show the fans my absolute best as that is yet to come. I am sure i will;)— Nicklas Bendtner (@bendtnerb52) August 31, 2012
Bianconeri fans are hoping it’s a new home and a better opportunity for Bendtner—despite what the board might be saying about its less-than-exciting, new striker.