Time for Arsenal to cash in on him once and for all

Juventus striker Nicklas Bendtner

Nicklas Bendtner needs to take a step down and get his career back on track, according to Hamburg Sporting Director Frank Arnesen.

The idea of playing at one of Europe’s big, glamour clubs was too much to resist for the Danish striker, even if he’s only started three games for Juventus. Bendtner’s time at Arsenal wasn’t filled with spells of prolific excellence in front of goal, either. When once he was out of the line-up for an extended period of time in 2010, the Legend of Bendtner was created, allowing Arsenal supporters to value him far higher than his actual worth. In fairness, it was during a spell where Andrey Arshavin was chosen as the team’s centre-forward, flanked by players like Tomas Rosicky and Samir Nasri, so the demand for a natural striker, even if it was only Bendtner, was understandable.

The young striker was never able to build on arguably his finest moment in the red of Arsenal, scoring the winner in the North London Derby immediately after coming on as a sub. There was a sense of entitlement about Bendtner; one that stretched far beyond comments about him being one of Europe’s best forwards. There was very little work ethic about his game, possibly based on the assumption that he was deserving of a place in the starting XI and that the team were fortunate to have him leading the line.

But Arsenal didn’t want him, and nor did Sunderland and now Juventus. Taking it down a notch is one of the few obvious avenues left for the forward to explore, where there is still sure to be a large queue of clubs around Europe keen on his services.

It’s hard work and the desire to play football as well. It’s not just about landing at a club in Europe, no matter their stature, and expecting the best. Bendtner has looked very good for the majority of games he’s played for the Danish national side, which is more than enough to suggest there is a good player in there. Yet it’s the attitude of the modern youngster which holds him back; the image he wants to portray that he’s made it in the game and that everyone else seems to misunderstand him.

Yes, maybe he should have left Arsenal a few seasons ago. Bendtner is a player of international quality and with the experience of having played at the highest level of club football. But has he ever looked like a player who belongs at the pinnacle of the European game bar a few promising moments?

Borussia Dortmund were rumoured to have come close to signing the forward last summer and could once again line up Bendtner as one of the players to replace Robert Lewandowski’s production at Signal Iduna Park. However, will Bendtner grab the opportunity with both hands and count himself fortunate that he’s once again landed at one of Europe’s top clubs? Will he thrive under the prospect of silverware in Jurgen Klopp’s side? Will he show a little more willingness to perform well in Dortmund’s pressing game?

You never get the sense that Bendtner is of the maturity to accept when he’s doing things wrong. He won’t accept that a step down is best for his career and longevity in the game. As always, it’s everyone else’s fault – not his.

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