When the transfer window closed and we failed in our final attempts to sign a striker that would have competed with Giroud, we knew that at some point Arsene Wenger would have to rely on Nicklas Bendtner. Podolski has been sidelined for some time and probably won’t be back before 2014, Sanogo is too young and too injured, meaning there is nobody else.
Bendtner, once dubbed by himself as the best striker in the world, is in his last year of his contract with Arsenal and it is highly unlikely that he is going to sign a new one…unless something dramatically changes in the next seven months.
A close look at Bendtner suggests that he has been out of shape for a while. Too much weight and terrible record he had while being on loan at Juventus suggested that Bendtner wouldn’t get another chance to prove all that hype that surrounded him when he was a promising youngster. It’s not like he hasn’t had more than one chance so far but his incredible misses haven’t helped him either. If Podolski was healthy or Wenger managed to snap either Demba Ba or any other striker, Bendtner’s career at Arsenal would have been finished.
For some reason, Bendtner has sported a samurai hair that makes him look like he was cast for the role of Tom Cruz’s brother in “The Last Samurai 2: The Greatest Strike”. An optimist would say that proves Bendtner’s desire to serve his master and that assist against West Brom in the Capital One Cup was a step in the right direction. A pessimist would say: “It’s bloody Bendtner! Grow up!”
On a normal occasion, I would agree with the pessimist. Bendtner has been much louder off the pitch than on it during his Arsenal career. He has had some decent moments and even solid seasons but it’s not like he has been set up to become an Arsenal legend.
However, the fact is we don’t have an available back-up for Giroud which makes the Danish striker a legitimate option in our attack. Given that it was great to see Bendtner scoring two goals in the 2:2 Denmark draw against Italy, the Azzuri are well-known for their defensive skills. They have the likes of Gianluigi Buffon, one of the best goalkeepers in the world over the last 30 years, and Giorgio Chiellini, one of the best central defenders in the world, but Bendtner still managed to score twice. Despite the fact that the Dane obviously plays better for his national team than at club level, that brace might mean a lot to Bendtner when it comes to his future at Arsenal. The Last Samurai 2 should have realized by now that the forthcoming weeks – before Lukas Podolski returns, that is – are the most important period of his career. If he performs well, he might earn himself a new contract with Arsenal or find himself in a good position before negotiations with other clubs next summer. Let’s not forget that Denmark won’t feature at the World Cup so the only way Bendtner might keep a chunk of his alleged £52,000 per-week wage is to perform well for the Gunners.
Bendtner is a 26-year-old striker who can still hope that his best days are ahead of him. He is capable of scoring goals. If he doesn’t meet the expectations, he might wake up in the summer as a Ronin, a Samurai without a master.