Only the Top Players Can Hang

Theo Walcott has two assists and three goals this season. Not good enough for a man that played 23 times as an attacking midfielder and cost Arsenal 9 million pounds. For that amount of money, Arsenal could have bought a top keeper.

Then, we have Harvard Nordtveit. He cost Arsenal over two million pounds back in January 2007 and was meant to be the best young centre-back in Europe. Well, he’s not.

Nordtveit has just spent a season on loan at German Bundesliga side Nurnberg – the German equivalent to Burnley. For the past three months he has failed to get into their first team and has only started 14 games out of 34.

Before his loan spell at Nurnberg, Nordtveit played at U.D. Salamanca in Spain’s Segunda Division. After three appearances, they released him.

Nordtveit did have a successful loan spell last summer playing for Lillestrom in the Norwegian Tippeligaen, which indicates that he’s more comfortable playing in his home country than abroad.

Apparently, Nordtveit started well at Nurnberg. Under then head coach Michael Oenning, he started every game. However, Oenning was fired last Christmas and his replacement Dieter Hecking has not played Nordtveit except for the odd appearance as a substitute.

According to reports from Germany, Nordtveit has been poor. This could be due to the fact that he’s been played out of position while at Nurnberg. Instead of playing as a centre-back, the young Norweigan has been used as a defensive midfielder, a position that he’s struggled with. Nordtveit doesn’t read the game well as a defensive midfielder, his positioning is also poor and he fails to break up attacks by the opposition.

Nordveit was also voted one of the 10 worst players in the Bundesliga in the first half of the German season. I watched him play against FC Freiburg a game that Nurnberg lost 1-0 and he was really poor. His passing was off, he looked lightweight and he didn’t seem to want the ball.

I will be very surprised if Havard Nordtveit plays for Arsenal next season.

Then there’s the left-back Pedro Botelho who was signed by Arsenal at the same time as Nordtveit. Due to work permit restrictions, Botelho was immediately loaned out to Spanish side U.D. Salamanca where he enjoyed a relatively successful season making 37 appearances. He was due to play another season for the Segunda Division side when he was caught having sex with the Chairman’s daughter so instead he was loaned out to Celta Vigo.

Arsenal had high hopes for the Brazilian Botelho. The attacking full-back was seen as the next Roberto Carlos. However, recent reports from Spain say that he has fallen out with head coach Eusebio Sacristan after he was substituted and acted in a very petulant manner. Celta Vigo don’t want him back next season and Arsenal cannot obtain a work permit for him until he has completed three seasons on loan in Spain. Besides his poor attitude, his form seems to have dipped as his party lifestyle takes a front seat. His defending has been average to poor and scouts say that he’s not as good as Gibbs or Traore.

So much for potential.

Keep It Arsenal

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