Nicklas Bendtner admits he wants to leave Arsenal at the end of the season, but Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky are going nowhere.
Denmark international Bendtner was deemed surplus to requirements ahead of the current campaign, but there was little interest from other clubs during the transfer window. To be fair to the 26-year-old, he didn’t sulk and instead continued to work hard at the Emirates Stadium club, and finally forced his way back into the fold.
The striker scored the crucial breakthrough goal in the 2-0 win over Cardiff City back in January, but although he has featured 14 times in all competitions, he has only started four times. And whilst he insists he will battle on for the rest of the season in the hope of impressing Arsene Wenger, he is unhappy at his lack of action.
“If you can find a footballer who says he is happy to sit and watch and not play, then I think he needs to find a different job,” said Bendtner. “I want to play. I am fit and ready, am training well. That I am not selected is up to the manager, it is not up to me. All I can do is train well, which is what I am doing. If he chooses different, then that is up to him.”
Two players who have seen considerably more action for the Gunners this term are Mertesacker and Rosicky. The latter was expected to take a back seat following the club record £42.5million signing of Mesut Ozil and the remarkable improvement of Aaron Ramsey, but he has featured 26 times in all competitions, scoring twice.
The Czech Republic ace was due to become a free agent at the end of the season, and despite the injury problems he has had in the past, there would likely have been plenty of interest in him. However, the 33-year-old has been handed terms on a new deal, which is understood to be for two years and will take him up to a decade at the club.
“I’m very happy that I’m staying at the club,” he told the official club website. “I’m proud that I’m still here after a long time. One big factor is that I want to win the league with Arsenal. It’s my big goal and I will do everything that I can to achieve it. We have a great spirit here and we are all working together to do the best we can.”
German defender joined Arsenal from Werder Bremen in the summer of 2011, and despite early reservations about his suitability to the game in England, he has forged an impressive pairing with Laurent Koscielny in the heart of the back four. A supporter of the club as a child, the 29-year-old could barely be more pleased to commit his future.
“It was easy for me to commit myself to the club,” he said. “I have been here for two-and-a-half great years and feel I have great support from the fans. We have a great team here and we all want to do our best to win trophies. I have become a real Gunner…I am truly thankful to the club and all the supporters for the time I have had here so far. And today I am deeply proud to have extended my contract with Arsenal. I’m proud to be a Gunner.”
One downside of these deals, particularly the Mertesacker news, is that it has increased the likelihood of Bacary Sagna leaving at the end of the season. The France international will be out of contract in the summer, and it was the club’s intention to announce a new deal at the same time as the German’s. That the latter’s has gone ahead amidst reports of the breakdown in his team-mates negotiations perhaps tells a story of its own.
Meanwhile, Wenger has expressed an interest in attacking midfielder Antonio Griezmann. The 22-year-old Frenchman, who plies his trade in Spain with Real Sociedad, has scored 15 goals in 24 La Liga matches this season, and the Arsenal coach told Telefoot: “Yes, we follow him in great detail. He attracts other clubs as well, he is a known commodity.”