I don’t think Nicklas Bendtner’s Arsenal career has panned out quite the way he imagined it would when he signed for the club as a youngster in 2004. Since breaking into the first team set up, Bendtner has been left frustrated with his lack of opportunities and he has spent most of his time warming the substitute’s bench. Bendtner has recently gone public in declaring his desire to leave Arsenal this summer as he feels he needs to be playing regular first team football, something he isn’t getting at The Emirates. We all know how highly Bendtner thinks of himself and no matter how many chances he misses on the pitch it doesn’t seem to knock his confidence. It appears Bendtner’s self-belief is also shared by his father and agent who has claimed his son will fetch Arsenal £12 million if he is sold.
I had to double take when I first saw the figure Bendtner’s father, Thomas, had suggested his son was worth. What I’ve seen of the Danish frontman in his time with Arsenal certainly doesn’t justify that sort of price tag, I would say somewhere in the region of £5-6 million would be a more accurate valuation. Thomas Bendtner even went as far as saying if his son had been playing more regularly, the price would be higher, “Around £12m sounds very realistic. He has been higher, but the price goes down when he is not playing enough.” (Daily Mail) I know a father will always support his son, but come on, there is a limit and this quote just makes me think that being delusional is a Bendtner family trait.
Bendtner has only made 3 Premier League starts all season for Arsene Wenger’s side, which instantly tells me there is a reason why one of the best managers in world football is overlooking Bendtner, he’s not as good as he thinks he is. The way Wenger sets out his team only leaves room for one striker to start and that is always going to be a player of genuine class, Robin Van Persie. That leaves Bendtner to fight it out with Marouane Chamakh for the backup role and it’s a battle Bendtner has lost to Chamakh for the majority of the season.
Regardless of all that has been said, there is no denying that Bendtner does have talent and he is capable of producing moments of magic, such as his goal in the Carling Cup semi-final against Ipswich at The Emirates. Unfortunately, there are rather more moments like the fluffed chance against Barcelona in the last sixteen of the Champions League that stick in the memory. Bendtner’s modesty and oozing self-confidence hasn’t endeared him to the Arsenal fans and a large section of them won’t be sad to see the Dane leave.
I do have an element of admiration for Bendtner though, as in the face of his lack of first team football and goals for Arsenal, he still manages to convince himself, if not others, of his own ability. However ridiculous some of his statements may seem, the confidence he has in himself may be enough to ensure he is a success somewhere else in the future. For someone who has achieved little more in the game than the 2009 Danish footballer of the year, to have such a high opinion of himself, although baffling, is also slightly admirable. No one would want a player who lacks confidence in their team, so now all Bendtner has to do is start backing up his claims of potential greatness with big performances and goals.