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Darren Bent at Aston Villa…Fantastic! However, why was Martin O’Neill not given £18m for a Striker?

Darren Bent

Darren Bent has proven he is a class act in the Premier League. Photo: Zimbio

Darren Bent’s proposed move to Aston Villa this afternoon has filled me with excitement. As a Villa Fan myself, I have been begging for the club to sign a striker with a proven record of scoring goals in the Premier League. If this transfer was to go through we would certainly be getting one of those. TalkSport presenter and ex-Villain Stan Collymore however seems to be against the move, suggesting that the transfer is an act of desperation from Villa. So, what is Randy Lerner doing spending a reported £18m when Martin O’Neill could not grind a penny out of him towards the end of his time at Aston Villa?

Sunderland confirmed that “The club can confirm that it received a written transfer request from Darren Bent following yesterday’s Wear-Tyne derby match.”. The transfer does cause one to question why he has requested a move from Sunderland; who lie 6th in the Premier League table and are playing some very attractive football this season. On the other side of the coin, why would Darren Bent want to move to a club who a one point clear of the drop zone and are struggling significantly this season? I’m certainly not going to spending too much time complaining about his reasoning behind the move.

25 goals in his first season at Sunderland has shown he can score goals at the highest level. Bent has attracted the eye of some of the Premier League’s ‘bigger’ clubs in the past during a time when he was scoring literally for fun. He continues to maintain a scoring rate of one goal in just under every two games. He has shown he has pace, an eye for goal, a clinical finish and an outstanding work rate. Having spent time at Tottenham during less successful times and Sunderland at present, Bent has shown that he can still score goals even if he is not surrounded by world class players.

I was thinking what Darren Bent would add to our (Aston Villa) side at the moment and I decided to change the question…what won’t he add? Villa lack a player with a proven track record of consistently scoring in the Premier League. With only 24 goals scored in the league all season he will certainly change that for Villa. He is incredibly energetic and will put a lot of work in on the field. I do not want to be over zealous towards Emile Heskey or John Carew, but Villa’s fans have been frustrated at the pairs’ lack of quality and all-round effort this season. Similarly, Gabby Agbonlahor as we all know is not a gifted finisher. Sure, he can use an outstanding burst of pace to create chances, but ultimately you will never get an excellent return from him. I am truly excited and hopeful that we will see Darren Bent wearing an Aston Villa shirt in the next 24 hours. A proven 20-goal a season Striker that we simply have not had for so many years.

Rewinding back to the start of the season, we saw the departure of Martin O’Neill; who has been Villa’s best manager since I was born in the mid 1980’s in my opinion. Whilst it was not directly reported or said, O’Neill was said to be beyond frustrated at the lack of transfer funds being sent his way. With Houllier now in charge and not producing the goods, I am not quite sure how Randy Lerner can cough up £18m in cash to buy Darren Bent. The great thing about Martin O’Neill was that he worked incredibly well with what he already had. Houllier however has a track record of poor signings, particularly at Liverpool where he signed the likes of El Hadji Diouf, Bruno Cheyrou and Salif Diao to name a few. These three players had a torid time at Liverpool, despite costing a total of £19m! Perhaps Randy Lerner is spending money to show his belief in the Frenchman. I am a sceptic when it comes to Gerard Houllier, but I would grant him some time in the job to prove me wrong. The £6m arrival on Jean Makoun only two days ago could see Villa spend £24m on two players in only 3 days. I also believe that Makoun is a useful signing, bringing with him experience in the Champions League and at International level for Cameroon. When you consider what Chelsea paid for Ramirez before the season started, Jean Makoun may be considered a snip at £6m for a quality box to box midfielder.

I can see the signing of Darren Bent changing Aston Villa’s season. We simply have not clicked this season; and the addition of a decent Striker to a side who have the ability to create numerous chances is more than welcome. Come on Bent, do the business! Prove that Gerard Houllier is not as shocking in the transfer market as we may have thought. I hope it is £18m well spent; because if it saves Villa from the prospect of relegation he should be worth double that! Keep the money coming Randy, it could ensure Premier League football at Villa Park next season!




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