Nicklas Bendtner’s self-belief is literally off the charts. He was once analysed by a psychologist, who had never met someone with so much confidence in his own ability. This rightly makes Bendtner a figure of fun amongst football fans, particularly here in England where getting above oneself is simply not the done thing.
That said, self-belief is vital for any sportsman. Michael Jordan never used to worry about the last shot; he wanted to get on to the next one. The same is true, I am led to believe, in the world of high finance. The best people are those who look forward and execute every deal on its merits, regardless of what’s gone before (Jonathan Dee’s book “The Privileges” is a good study on this). Poker would be the same too.
So while Bendtner hasn’t got to the level he expects, if anyone’s going to surprise us it’ll be someone like him, just because he refuses to see limitations and therefore may just keep on improving. It could happen.
Particularly as he’s a lot better than given credit for.
In 2007/08 he scored 10 goals in 38 appearances, of which only 15 were starts (all competitions, including internationals).
In 2008/09 he scored 18 in 66, 38 of which were starts. He also added nine assists.
In 2009/10 he scored 14 in 34, only 24 starts, six assists.
In 2010/11 he scored 10 in 36, 18 starts, six assists.
Given that he’s rarely had a run in the side (which could be held against him, but it is Arsenal so perhaps not) I don’t think there’s anything there to justify the accusations that he is not a good player. To the contrary, from the above he looks more than a little decent. His team play has always impressed me, and while there are attitude questions, it’s surprising how often those branded ‘difficult’ by the football world seem to turn out to be surprisingly sane.
The burning question: where will he end up?
The main rumour was Dortmund. Then executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said: “There has never been an offer from Borussia Dortmund for Nicklas Bendtner. Of course we could make larger transfers but we don’t want to borrow any money.”
Hamburg was then said to be the destination of choice. Then this:
“We need more creativity in our offence. A midfielder with quality would be good for us. Bendtner would be a real dream, he is a very interesting player. He can also play as an attacking midfielder behind the attacker. But it would almost amount to a small miracle for us to get him. There are two other clubs who have made Nicklas an offer and we are unfortunately not in that position.” Frank Arnesen
So where? Italy? Portugal? Fulham? Who knows…
Nobody. A poster on Friends of Fulham who has agency knowledge says we have been in discussions, but Rafael Honigstein (a respected German journalist) says that Fulham “probably couldn’t afford him”. We’ll just have to wait and see.