Arsene Wenger is spending his interlull in Switzerland at the UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum, and yesterday, Italian paper Tuttosport decided to ask him why on earth Juventus made a late move for Nicklas Bendtner*, and what they could expect.
* It wasn't quite phrased like this, but, you know.
Wenger's answer was perhaps surprising:
"It is not for nothing that I loaned him to Juventus. He is a talented player. There he will grow and then return to my team,' the Arsenal manager told the Italian paper, Tuttosport.
"I am convinced that at a team like Juventus, in a very difficult league, especially for strikers, he can make the final leap in quality[...]
"We believe in him and that is why we only gave him to Juventus on loan," said Wenger. "We have not sold him, only loaned him, and next year we will bring him home."
-- The Guardian
We all know that Bendtner has been inconsistent in his time at Arsenal and Sunderland, but we're still talking about a player who has managed 45 goals in 152 spotty appearances, mostly as a sub. It's not a great record, but his selection was inconsistent.
We also know that Wenger is loathe to speak in bad terms about any of the players on his squad, or indeed, just about any football player anywhere, so there is a good chance that Bendtner doesn't exactly feature in his first team plans for next season. However, were Bendtner to somehow bang in 15-20 goals for Juve this year, he would no doubt have to think twice and see if Nicklas would be willing to pull on the red and white again in some capacity.
Unfortunately for Nicklas, though, it looks like (yes, it's The Sun) he has some other issues to, um, slim down first.