Why Time Is Almost Up for Striker Nicklas Bendtner at Arsenal

James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19:  Nicklas Bendtner of Arsenal reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Norwich City at Emirates Stadium on October 19, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Time is nearly up for Nicklas Bendtner. His purgatorial final spell at Arsenal is surely only a matter of weeks from ending.

Bendtner’s international manager, Morton Olsen, took to the airwaves this week to urge Bendtner to end his association with Arsenal in January. According to the Simon Jones of the Daily Mail Online, Olsen said:

Bendtner scored two great goals for us in the game against Italy, but there were also things he lacked in the match and this only comes through playing games.

It is for this reason that he should find something new this winter. I think he will make the recommendation to himself and that is the main thing. Footballers want to play football.

He needs to play. He has maybe 10 years left to go; he must use them well. 

Few Arsenal fans will shed a tear if Bendtner does depart in the new year.

The Dane had already cut Gunners supporters deep in 2011 when he insisted he had no desire to ever play for the club again after joining Sunderland on loan. His recent comments to Danish paper Belingske, as reported in The Observer by Marcus Christenson, have merely rubbed salt into pre-existing wounds.

In the interview, published on the day of Arsenal’s vital match with Manchester United, Bendtner decried the club’s decision to force him to train with the reserves as “ridiculous,” before criticising certain sections of the fanbase for using him as an “easy target.” 

Bendtner is an easy target—but only because he made himself one with his poor performances, attitude and outspoken comments. 

L'VIV, UKRAINE - JUNE 12:  In this handout image provided by UEFA, (L-R) Lars Jacobsen, Morten Olsen the coach of Denmark and Nicklas Bendtner face the media during a UEFA EURO 2012 press conference at the Arena Lviv on June 12, 2012 in Lviv, Ukraine.  (P
Handout/Getty Images

Bendtner now seems set for a January departure. There will still be takers for a player who undoubtedly has ability. Perhaps a new environment will see him finally fulfill some of his early promise.

However, there remains a chance that Bendtner won’t move on. His contract expires at the end of the season, and Bendtner may be keen to sit out the remainder of his deal before taking advantage of his status as a Bosman freebie.

It depends where his priorities lie. If Bendtner is thinking about his football, he should move on at the earliest opportunity. As Olsen points out, his short career is already dwindling.

His next move is undoubtedly his most important. The bell has already been sounded in the last chance saloon.

Whether or not Bendtner moves on in January, it’s plausible that he will never play for Arsenal again.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Nicklas Bendtner of Arsenal beats Michael Essien of Chelsea to the ball during the Capital One Cup Fourth Round match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on October 29, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Jami
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

His current status as an Arsenal substitute is an arrangement of convenience. Presently, Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott and Yaya Sanogo are all sidelined through injury. At least two of that trio could return to full fitness during the current international break, forcing Bendtner down the pecking order.

When the January window opens, Arsene Wenger will have the opportunity to add another striker, banishing Bendtner to the very fringes of his squad.

It’s important to remember that Wenger has only used Bendtner out of desperation. Soon, he may have no such need.

The sight of Bendtner back in an Arsenal shirt has grated on some fans this season. Fortunately for all parties, it is a sight they will not have to endure for much longer.