Bendtner filling a need in return to Arsenal

Posted by John Cross

I can always tell when Nicklas Bendtner is back in the news. My mobile phone goes red hot with calls with the prefix of +45 from Danish newspapers, radio and television.

Down the years, I've formed three lifelong friendships with Danish journalists thanks to Super Nick.

The interest in Bendtner in Denmark is on a par to our interest in David Beckham here in England. Think I'm exaggerating? I'm not.

- Bendtner in line for Arsenal return

Bendtner is their big star, plays for Arsenal -- a huge club among Scandinavian fans -- had a baby with Danish royalty, lives, shall we say, a rock and roll lifestyle, and occasionally plays football.

Very occasionally just lately; not since August 2011 for Arsenal, when he came on as a substitute at Liverpool. Since then, he's been loaned to Sunderland and Juventus with varying degrees of success.

He has fallen out of favour in spectacular fashion at Arsenal and he's spent the last two summers trying to negotiate a move away from the Emirates.

Last summer, he took time off -- with Arsenal's blessing -- to navigate his way to Juventus. A remarkable achievement in joining one of the world's biggest clubs. Well, not if you're Bendtner. Because, after all, he did famously say he believes he can become one of the best strikers in the world.

"If you ask me if I am the one of the better goalscorers in the world, I would reply yes, because I believe it ... I do not believe that I am overconfident. I believe that I have the confidence equal to my talent." - Bendtner

This summer it was a similar story for the 25-year-old. He was told he could leave Arsenal but refused to take a drop in wages, so that meant he'd rather stay as a reserve at the Emirates than go to Eintracht Frankfurt and play in the Bundesliga.

Even then it appeared he would join Crystal Palace on transfer deadline day. But that fell through when Arsenal could not get Demba Ba. Now, however, he is needed, and, despite my own doubts, Bendtner is back in the frame for the Gunners.

The Dane was on the bench on Sunday against Stoke and is due to be in the squad at West Brom for the Capital One Cup.

There are few bigger comebacks than this. Sure enough, the phone's been busy. "What do you make of Bendtner? Will he play? Will he score?"

Let's be honest, it's a marriage of convenience. When Arsene Wenger said on Friday that he'd be back involved two days later, I said: "Honestly?" It was said in disbelief. I admit it, I didn't think it would happen.

But now Bendtner is a necessity; Olivier Giroud is the Gunners' only other striker. As well as the Frenchman is playing, with his combative style, he can't play every game. So Bendtner's number has come up.

This is his big chance. He can prove himself all over again and maybe even regain a bit of self respect after becoming a figure of fun. He's in the final year of his contract and a lucrative free transfer awaits next summer.

All those big boasts and ideas. Now comes his chance to really show that he can still be a footballer. What a comeback that would be.


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