Scouting Report: Nicklas Bendtner

Nicklas Bendtner is set to part ways with Arsenal, despite having one year left on his contract. His destination could very well be Germany, where several Bundesliga clubs are reportedly interested in the Danish striker.

Bendtner explained that “Arsenal have reached an agreement with five clubs so it’s up to me to make a choice. Hopefully within the next two weeks as I’m going on holiday. They are good clubs and I’ve talked with almost all of the respective managers” in an interview with the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet on Monday.

The once so-acclaimed talent has struggled to claim his place in world football and spent last season on loan at Juventus where he only managed three starts and eight appearances from the bench. It should be mentioned that Bendtner’s season was hindered by injuries, but it is fair to say that he was well down in the strikers’ hierarchy in Torino.

The Italian experience, however, seems to have taught the Dane a lesson or two and he is no longer adamant in his choice of potential clubs where Champions League isn’t a top priority, as he explains:

“I need to go somewhere where I’m wanted. As a footballer there’s only one thing that makes you happy: regular playing time. Would it be good for me to sit on the bench at a top club? No. I would rather go to a club just below the top where I can play regularly. I’m taking one step backwards to go three steps forwards.”

Destination: Bundesliga

And so, a move is on the cards for Bendtner and the Bundesliga looks to be the most likely destination with his reputation tarnished in England and Italy and his playing style probably not suited for La Liga.

Bendtner himself reveals that there’s interest from Germany and that the interest is mutual: “The game has evolved a lot in the Bundesliga and its insane how good Bayern München have been this season. We saw how strong they and Dortmund were in the Champions League”.

But where is he going exactly? He doesn’t want to name clubs but according to Ekstra Bladet, it may very well be Borussia Mönchengladbach who are one of the interested parties.

With Mike Hanke leaving for SC Freiburg, there seems to be room for another striker. However, the problem is that both Luuk de Jong and Peniel Mlapa are the same type of player as Bendtner, but with only 8 Bundesliga goals between them, sporting director Max Eberl and coach Lucien Favre might not trust their goal scoring ability for another season.

Another club being thrown around is Eintracht Frankfurt, who will need to strengthen their attacking options going into a season with Europa League action. Only seven of their 49 Bundesliga goals have come from their strikers and it looks like a gamble to rely on Alexander Meier scoring most of the goals again. Two of those strikers, Karim Matmour and Erwin Hoffer, will not be in the squad next season as they are departing the club, with only Srdjan Lakić and Olivier Occéan as options for the striker position.

One thing that may hinder that transfer from happening is the fact that Armin Veh has set his sights on Sparta Prague-striker Václav Kadlec. However, the club is unwilling to sell, despite Kadlec wanting to play in a different league – the player’s agent citing a situation similar to Robert Lewandowski’s at Dortmund.

The three other clubs thought to have struck a deal with Arsenal haven’t been named, but Turkish side Beşiktaş have been interested in Bendtner for a long time and a club from England or Italy could sneak into the picture as well. However, Bendtner seems to prefer the Bundesliga as the stage to get his career back on track.

So the question is: Will he? Judging by his words, he sounds like a more mature player who has acknowledged his limits and just wants to play football. But, as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words so until he bags around ten goals in a season and stays out of trouble, his critics will not be silenced.

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Martin Krag is a football writer and analyst living in Denmark. He covers German football for and runs the Danish language Bundesliga blog Follow Martin on twitter @martinkrag

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