December 7 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Friday, September 20, 2013
Arsenal Wenger has opened the door to a remarkable Arsenal return for forgotten man Nicklas Bendtner, insisting the Dane has “grown up”.
The striker has spent the last two seasons on loan at first Sunderland and then Juventus and though the Italian champions ruled out making the move permanent it looked certain he would be on his way out of the Emirates.
That outcome seemed to be hastened as the Gunners spent the summer pursuing a host of hitman only to fail in their attempts to land Luis Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain, Wayne Rooney and Demba Ba.
It was their unsuccessful transfer deadline day bid to lure the latter from Chelsea that saw Bendtner’s move to Crystal Palace blocked at the 11th hour, due to a lack of numbers on the Gunners’ squad.
It saw Bendtner release a statement expressing his disappointment that the switch to the Eagles collapsed, but also said: “I want to assure all Arsenal fans that I will give everything I have to contribute to what I believe will be a successful season for the club.”
Wenger, who confirmed there are no issues between him and the forward, said that, providing he can win his battle for fitness ahead of Wednesday’s trip to West Brom in the Capital One Cup, the 25-year-old “will be in the squad for sure.”
The manager added: “He lost his way a little bit.
“He’s not a bad boy, he’s a good guy.
“He took the easy way a little bit but now he realises that there are some signals in your career.
“He has grown up and he has a good self esteem.”
Should Bendtner play at the Hawthorns it will be his first appearance for the Gunners since a 2-0 home defeat to Liverpool two years ago.
It will come off the back of a glowing recommendation from Juventus manager Antonio Conte, who this week said: “Bendtner left a good impression on everyone at Juventus. Some call him a bad boy, but that is not the impression he left with us.”
Wenger agreed, saying ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League visit of Stoke City: “He’s a good striker.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for him. Honestly, he was supposed to go but he stayed.
“Once he stays you have to consider him fully as a player of the squad.
“If he deserves to play in front of [Olivier] Giroud he will play in front of Giroud, it’s as simple as that.”