Friday, 10 March 2017

Bye Bye Nicklas Bendtner, let's hope you're the last of your kind

With very little fanfare, Nicklas Bendtner drifted off to Norway this week to end a fairly forgettable six-month stint at the City Ground. Despite the big billing, he leaves as another failed 'vanity signing' and a symbol of misguided transfer planning.

Never mind the Lord's Prayer. With 'Lord' Bendtner amid our ranks, we were left praying that the enigmatic Dane would actually run about and at least look interested. The success of the transfer always rested on whether or not he could channel his undoubted natural talent and provide the squad with a talisman after being cruelly robbed of seeing more of Oliver Burke.

Yet, while Gary Brazil might have chosen to be polite about Bendtner this week, it was clear to all involved that the former Arsenal man wasn't good enough to earn a start. Not good enough for a side in the bottom third of the Championship and definitely not good enough to get in ahead of 17-year-old sensation Ben Brereton.

By all rights, Bendtner should be embarrassed by that. However good Brereton is - and let's not alert too many prying eyes to his talent just yet - he surely should've been striving to show him, and Championship defenders, why he was a cut above this level of football. By the end of his time on Trentside you could make a case that Assombalonga, McCormack, Brereton, Clough, and Vellios were all ahead of him in the pecking order. Indeed, even the lesser-spotted Matty Fryatt was in danger of overtaking him. Bendtner did have injuries, sure, but who at the club hasn't?

That there was a collective shrug of the shoulders among fans shows you how little impact the Dane had in his time at the club. Yet, while the transfer to Rosenborg was best for all involved, I can't help hoping that lessons are learned from this episode.

The 'vanity signings' have to stop. There should be no more Bendtners and plenty more players in the mould of Zach Clough. Nicklas wasn't the first. In the past we've turned to the likes of Andy Cole and Neil Lennon when they've long gone past their sell by date. The less said about David Pl**t's three Italians the better. More recently, Federico Macheda was surely only signed because of memories of his early promise under Manchester United? Then there was Chuba Akpom. He might have been an Arsenal player on paper but he's surely got as much chance of being a full team regular there as I have.

Players like these just waste resources and halt the progress of good young players. If Brereton or Tyler Walker, say, come in and make a mistake then at least they might learn from that and improve. When these players make a mistake they're just wasting everyone's time.

Bendtner is in danger of turning into a travelling circus, a journeyman who people just roll up to laugh at and check out how bad he's become but at least, for now, his reputation was enough to get him a move. You never know, he might enjoy a cushy little number in Norway. If he'd have fancied it, surely our club offered him a great opportunity to prove himself though?

The fact he was reportedly on £1.3 million a year here (or about £25,000 a week) was only surprising in the sense that I feared it would have been higher. Big numbers have lost their meaning in the mad world of football haven't they? The main worry is that Philippe Montanier previously said that Bendtner wasn't the highest paid member of the squad. Lord knows (not Bendtner, the other one) how much we're wasting on some players.

January showed little sign that the transfer policy has become more sensible, especially in the case of Joao Texeira. It would sum Forest up if we go through all of the hassle of 'sub loaning' a player from another club and then never actually deploy him in a match. I've also wondered whether we put much thought into whether or not we'd be able to field Clough and McCormack in the same team.

I hope the arrival of Frank McParland as director of football in recent days is the first step in the right direction, although I'm not holding my breath with Fawaz's track record. We need a much more strategic and sensible approach to transfers. First and foremost, players should only be brought in if they offer something different to what we already have coming through the academy production line. Even then, young, hungry talent from this level and those below should be snapped up, along with one or two experienced leaders who have the desire and talent to still offer something to the team. It's not rocket science, but it isn't seemingly obvious to Fawaz.

So, good luck in Norway Nicklas. If you bump into Jon Olav Hjelde do say hello. He'd probably have been a better bet up front than you.

No comments: