SUNDERLAND will consider making a permanent move for Nicklas Bendtner next summer, if the Dane suitably impresses during his season-long loan on Wearside.
The Black Cats beat the clock to land the Arsenal striker last night, with the paperwork filed minutes before the 11pm deadline and the deal officially announced just after the transfer window slammed shut.
Bendtner provides the boost to Sunderland’s attacking options which manager Steve Bruce had been desperate to add after a return of just one goal from the opening four games of the season.
Bruce had spent the previous 10 days tracking Bendtner after speaking to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger following Sunderland’s derby defeat to Newcastle.
Sunderland were unsure whether Arsenal would be prepared to let the Danish international leave the Emirates on loan, with both the club and 23-year-old striker looking to part ways.
But, with Bendtner on substantial wages at Arsenal, Wenger has allowed the forward to spend the campaign on Wearside where he will provide competition for existing attacking options Asamoah Gyan, Connor Wickham and Ji Dong-won.
There is no clause in the deal to convert it into a permanent move at the end of the campaign.
But the loan will allow Sunderland the chance to assess Bendtner without having to pay out a substantial transfer fee and, if he impresses, there is every chance the Black Cats would look to land the hitman in a long-term deal next summer, with his Arsenal future uncertain.
Bruce will hope he can bring the best out of Bendtner again after taking the then teenage striker on a successful six-month loan when manager of Birmingham.
That was a key factor in Sunderland’s ability to land Bendtner yesterday – which wasn’t made any easier with negotiations conducted through the Dane’s father and agent Thomas, with the striker away on international duty.
Bruce said: “I’ve had the privilege of working with Nicklas previously. I had him as an 18-year-old and he helped clinch promotion for Birmingham.
“He’s an outstanding talent and is a big, physical presence who will lead the line magnificently for us.”
Bendtner was on a shortlist of strikers which included Patrick Helmes, Craig Bellamy and Peter Crouch.
A move for Helmes swiftly faded away, with the German international not keen to leave Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg, while Bellamy agreed a two-year deal to return to Liverpool from Manchester City late last night.
Sunderland’s hopes of landing Crouch faded earlier in the day when it became clear the England international had his heart set on a move to Stoke City.
Contrary to reports, Crouch was not in the North East yesterday to discuss terms.
Sunderland were not willing to invest anything approaching the staggering £12million fee paid out by Stoke to land the striker, who will be 31 in January.
Crouch was also keen to renew acquaintances with close pal Jonathan Woodgate at the Britannia Stadium and agreed a lucrative four-year deal with the Potters last night.
When it became clear Crouch was on his way to Stoke, Sunderland focused all their attentions on Bendtner.
And with the departure of Anton Ferdinand freeing up significant wages and raising £3m in funds, Bruce was given the go-ahead to add his 11th signing of the summer.
H Former Sunderland striker Martyn Waghorn, 21, has joined Hull City on loan from Championship rivals Leicester until January.