Sunderland’s Darren Bent has today handed in a transfer request following suggestions that Aston Villa have tabled an offer the striker.
It is thought that the offer from the Claret and Blue’s, who currently lie in 17th place in the Premier League, is in the region of £18 million for the seven times England capped forward. At this stage Villa have refused to comment.
This strikes a massive blow to Steve Bruce, the Sunderland manager’s, attempts to build on his club’s season so far. The Black Cats currently find themselves in sixth spot in the Premier League table, and will secretly harbour ambitions of qualifying for the Europa League next season.
Bent will be of paramount importance to that cause, having scored 11 times this season despite suffering from a number of injuries. This is not the first time that Bent has returned a good goal to game ratio. Last season he was Sunderland’s top goal scorer with 25 in all competitions in his first season after moving from Tottenham Hotspur, where he had scored 25 times in 79 appearances.
Going even further back, when the Tooting born striker played his debut season in the Premier League for Charlton Athletic at the age of just 22 he spearheaded the club’s attack, scoring 22 goals in his first season and then followed it up with a further 15 the next.
This track record of scoring consistently at the highest level is surely what has brought about a bid from Aston Villa, owned by American randy Lerner, as they look to maintain their Premier League status. Although the midlands club have John Carew, Emile Heskey, and Gabriel Agbonlahor as their striking options, none have offered the consistent threat up front and that it part of the reason, although by no means the only reason, why they find themselves in their current predicament.
Although the move would appear to make sense for Villa, what would Bent gain from such a move? One possibility is more money, as it would appear that Lerner is willing to pay most of the £18 million pounds up front, suggesting the club are in a position to offer a healthy payment package for the striker who has scored just one goal for England since his debut back in 2006.
Another suggestion is that, in light of the recent transfer requests from the likes of Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez, Bent and his agent are hoping to renegotiate a better deal for the coming seasons. This could work in his favour, although if he does manage to gain the possible desired increase in wages, at what cost would it be? Would be adored week in week out by the many thousands that turn out each weekend at the Stadium of Light?
One final suggestion is that, in the knowledge of Villa’s supposed offer, Bent could be attempting to draw other, bigger name clubs into a possible bidding war over his services. Both Chelsea and Liverpool have been low on goals this season, while Arsenal may look for support alongside Samir Nasri’s goals from midfield.
Of course, it could well be that Bent has misjudged the situation, that Sunderland do not have enough money to pay him the extra he requires and so accept the bid from Villa; they could begin to rebuild their squad with £18 million. If, following this, no other clubs are interested in his services, Bent could well find himself in England’s second city and if things do not go to plan there he could soon find himself, in his prime at the age of 27, in England’s second league as well.