Arsenal finally seem to be rid of Niklas Bendtner as his transfer to Italian side Juventus is set to be completed tomorrow, according to Sky Sport Italia. A much-maligned player at the Emirates, Bendtner has been close to leaving for quite a while. However, there are some Gooners who have stated their desire for him to stay at the club, ahead of Chamakh in the pecking order for the centre forward role. I guess these views stem from the decent season he had on loan at Sunderland before scoring two goals at the Euros.
I’m not going to sit on the fence on this one; I’m very pleased to see him leave. He had a poor attitude from the start, and although he does have some talent (as his 45 goals and 21 assists in 4 seasons show), he never seemed the right player for an Arsene Wenger side. He doesn’t integrate into the team as well as Giroud, or even Chamakh, due to his relatively poor control and innacurate short passing.
Juve’s director has said the following regarding the proposed transfer:
“Bendtner is already in Italy and will undergo a medical tomorrow.Until the final paperwork is concluded, I will not say that the player is ours. That became clear yesterday [after Berbatov's move fell through].”
If the rumours are to be believed, he will go on loan for another season, with Juve having an option to buy at the end. I think he could be a key player for them next campaign as they attempt to retain the title. Hopefully he’ll grab a few goals and leave permanently in a year.
Onto the Walcott situation, which we have yet to comment on as both the writers have been away. I’ve got to be honest; if there were one player I’d have been indifferent to see leaving this summer, it’s Theo. He’s English, young and fast, so surely would’ve gone for a fee close to the £20 million Liverpool paid for Downing.
However, I think it’s inevitable that Theo would be more productive at another Premier League club – at the very least, one that doesn’t rely so much on possession football. Given his less-than-satisfactory passing ability mixed with his amazing pace, clever runs and decent finishing, I could see him grabbing plenty of goals at a club like Sunderland, or Fulham.
So the news that he may yet sign a five-year deal at the club is still positive. At his age he can still develop quite far, and as a winger he was always going to be inconsistent. The job of a winger is to attack the full back as much as possible, which will often lead to plenty of possession turnover and failed dribbles. I think Theo could be a centre forward for us if we slightly change our style to take advantage of his best attributes, i.e. speed. In the worst case scenario, I reckon he will have a good sell-on value in the future.
Finally for today, we have the Capital One Cup and Champions League draws to discuss. We face a home tie against Coventry in the cup, which should prove a winnable match for our fringe players, as Coventry were relegated from the Championship last season.
In the Champions League, we avoided the big guns and will face the following three sides in Group B: Schalke, Olympiakos and Montpellier. The most exciting group to watch may be Group D, which features Real Madrid, Man City, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund. Man Utd got a relatively easy draw, whereas Chelsea have two weaker sides along with Juve, which could be slightly tricky. Especially if they have Niklas Bendnter.
With the transfer window set to close tomorrow evening, we can only hope that Wenger is working on transfers. He says he’s looking for that “special player,” but if he hasn’t found anyone over the last few months, then I think it’s unlikely he will in the next 24 hours.