NICKLAS Bendtner is desperate to “kick-start” his career back into life after being restricted to a fringe role at Arsenal.
Sunderland’s deadline day signing made just 17 Premier League appearances for the Gunners last year, with boss Arsene Wenger happy to let the Danish striker join the Wearsiders on a season-long loan.
Bendtner feels he was frozen out at the Emirates ever since injuring his legs and shoulder in a car accident almost two years ago and expects to leave Arsenal on a permanent deal at the end of the campaign.
And with Sunderland keen to reinforce their attacking options after netting just once in the opening four games, the prospect of a starting spot at the Stadium of Light held obvious appeal for the 23-year-old.
Bendtner, who will wear his favoured number 52 shirt for the Black Cats, said: “Sunderland was the club I wanted to go to.
“Now I can hopefully get away from the problems I was having at Arsenal and I’m looking forward to having a lot of playing time at Sunderland.
“This is the way I can kick-start my career again because I have not played much since the World Cup.
“I see it as a way to get back on and kick-start my career. I’ve been out for more than 18 months after my car accident and was not really given a fair chance to come back at Arsenal, where I spent most of the time on the bench.
“I will, of course, have to prove my worth to get into the team, but it is a starting place at Sunderland that attracted me.”
It was a nervy conclusion to the transfer window for Bendtner with the deal going through just 10 minutes before the 11pm deadline, while the striker was away on international duty.
Despite talk of moves to QPR and Stoke, Sunderland are thought to have been the only club to emerge with a concrete offer for the Copenhagen-born hitman on deadline day.
When the prospect of re-uniting with Steve Bruce emerged, Bendtner jumped at the chance after the Sunderland boss took the then teenage striker on loan to Birmingham in 2006/07.
“It all fell into place at the very last minute, so it was a tough finish to the window,” said Bendtner, who is training with the Denmark squad ahead of Tuesday’s Euro 2012 qualifier with Norway.
“I got confirmation that the deal was done 10 minutes before the transfer deadline and then I had to fax back to confirm. If that part had failed then I would have been left in misery.
“Sunderland are a good club with fantastic fans, but the driving force behind my switch was the gaffer with whom I have a great relationship and I respect him immensely.
“I spoke with Steve Bruce on Wednesday as the deal was done and it was all about putting the day behind us.
“He knew that it meant a lot to me to leave Arsenal, so it was a great relief for me to get this done.
“I see this as a great opportunity. It is a place I want to be at and it is a club that I have had positive feelings for from the outset.
“They finished 10th last season, which they are looking to improve on, and they have made some good signings.”