The World's greatest...footballer? or idiot? You decide.
"Everything I do I always feel very confident. Whether it's tennis, badminton, football, whatever. I just go out there and think I can do it and most of the time I can. What I'm good at I don't mind saying because it's not a secret, is it? For me confidence is so important. It's good to know I can go out on the field and feel I can take on the world." - Nicklas Bendtner, 2007.
''On a scale up to 9, Bendtner got 10! We have never seen that before. Pat Rice was sitting next to me and couldn't stop laughing. When Bendtner misses a chance, he is always genuinely convinced that it wasn't his fault. You might say that's a problem, and to a certain degree it can be. But you can also view it as this guy has a remarkable ability to come back after set-backs." - Psychologist Jaques Crevoisier, after putting the Arsenal squad through a test designed to measure their self-confidence.
“There is a price to pay as well for us players. The biggest thing I miss because of football is that I really, really love to go on a skiing holiday but as long as I have my career, I can’t do that because of the risk of being injured." - Nicklas Bendtner, justifying his £50,000-a-week wages.
"I had three aims this year (2009) - to get into the Arsenal team, qualify for the World Cup and to be Player of the Year. I have achieved them all. I want to be top scorer in the Premier League, top scorer at the World Cup and, within five years, I want to be among the best strikers in the world. Trust me, it will happen. I look around at other players, I see my own ability and I can’t see anything that tells me it won’t happen, I’m sure people will think 'What is he talking about?’ But as I have done before, and as I will do again, I will sit at the other end and laugh at those people when it is all done." - Nicklas Bendtner, speaking about his career as the Danish Lionel Messi.
For many people, Nicklas Bendtner is a laughing stock. He has an ego that would make Liam Gallagher appear humble. He is the ultimate stereotype of the modern day footballer. Overpaid, over-confident yet distinctly mediocre. Or is he?
From a Sunderland perspective, it's a very split opinion on whether we should stump up the cash to take him permanently. He arrived on deadline day to partner Asamoah Gyan before the Ghanaian decided he'd rather ply his trade in the United Arab Emirates than the English Premier League.
Since then, our striking department consisted of Bendtner, the young Connor Wickham, the inexperienced Ji Dong-won and the long-term absentee Fraizer Campbell.
On the rare occasions Wickham and Ji have made, it's obvious that both have a spark but aren't 100% ready for the rigours of the Premier League this season. This left us with no option but to start Bendtner up front by himself. No problem for the future greatest footballer to have walked the Earth.
He, like virtually every other Sunderland player, was disappointing under Steve Bruce. The 24-year-old only netted twice during Bruce's reign and was being slated for his blatant lack of effort, desire and fighting spirit.
And then something remarkable happened. Martin O'Neill. A sublime run of results saw our whole squad up their individual performances, none more-so than Nicklas Bendtner.
The targetman took a boot to the face, something many fans may have wanted to do to him themselves, which saw him miss a few weeks of the great Wearside revival.
Since then though, the masked figure of Bendtner emerged as a different entity. He's currently bagged four goals in his last five games but it's not all about the goals with 'NB52'.
Against QPR, he won everything and I mean absolutely everything in the air. Most of the time he'd flick the ball on to our resident Messi, Stephane Sessegnon or newly-fit strike partner Fraizer Campbell. Sometimes he wouldn't find a man with his knock-downs but still the fact remained that he was proving a handful.
He is by no means the perfect striker though. Instead, he is without a doubt the most frustrating footballer I've witnessed in a long time. His touch, control and aerial threat are all very good. In fact, he is an all-round technically brilliant footballer. This means nothing though if you don't have the drive to match.
We've seen an improvment lately as he now runs for the ball (occasionaly) and it is no coincidence his goal tally has also risen. Nevertheless, if things aren't going our way Big Nick won't inspire confidence to the thousands of fans that pay his wages.
Signed as a striker, I could probably count the amount of times I've seen him in the box on one hand. He appears at left back, right wing and frequently visits the holding midfielder area, despite already having five midfielders already on the pitch for that.
If we signed him, he could do a decent job given a whole season under O'Neill but it would be a gamble.
But, I suppose, the point of this piece is not just to debate whether we should sign the guy, it's a message to rest of the Premier League that Nicklas Bendtner isn't as hopeless as people have made him out to be.
He isn't half the player he thinks he is, he never has been and never will be. He isn't good enough for Champions League football with Arsenal. But he is good enough for an established top flight side, providing people understand his role in the team.
Underestimate Nicklas Bendtner at your peril.