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Why are teams not ‘Hell-Bent’ on signing Darren?

It has recently emerged that Fulham have stepped ahead of Newcastle in the race for Darren Bent’s signature, with odds of him joining the Cottagers now at 4/6 ON (according to The Guardian). With the fee yet to be agreed between the two clubs, the rumours on the grapevine are that Aston Villa would be prepared to do business at a mere £6 million, representing a potential eye watering loss of £18 million for the Midlands club. This surely catapults Bent into potential bargain of the summer territory if the deal goes through, so why is there only two teams after this one time England International?

If you look at the numbers they all add up when it comes to Darren Bent. He started his career at Ipswich Town where he went on to make 122 appearances in a four year spell scoring 48 goals along the way. Portman Road became the stage, for this young, exciting, raw British talent to showcase his goal scoring ability, leading Charlton Athletic to pay £2.5 million and bring him onto a bigger platform, The Premier League.

Bent was only at The Valley for two seasons, making 68 appearances and scoring 31 goals, a highly impressive ratio of nearly one in every two games. This led to the first of his club record moves from Charlton to Tottenham for a fee believed to be in excess of £16.5 million. During his time at the Lane, Bent struggled for form and fitness, only mustering 18 goals in 60 appearances (still not a shabby one in three ratio) before he was sold to Sunderland for £10 million, potentially £16 million with add-on’s. Bent left Tottenham on a sour note after having a Twitter rant with Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy, although Bent later apologised, saying it was purely out of frustration.

During his time at Sunderland, Bent was at his most prolific, scoring 32 goals in 52 games, one being the infamous goal against Liverpool where his shot bounced off a beach ball and past the floundering Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal for a 1-0 victory. Bent’s goal scoring accomplishments were gaining admiring glances from the Aston Villa Manager Gerrard Houllier who after long and very public negotiations, and a transfer request from Bent, paid £18 million rising up to £24 million for the striker, another club record.

Three years, 54 appearances and 21 goals later Bent is again potentially on the move. That gives Bent a career spanning 362 games and 150 club goals. Add to that his four goals in 13 England appearances and the numbers surely add up. Averaging nearly a goal every other game, only 29 years of age and a fee of only £6 million, surely you would think teams would be queueing up round the corner of Bodymoor Heath, trying to snap him up? But they’re not. Why?

The fact that Darren Bent has never been a player that really fits into the new ethos at Aston Villa hasn’t helped. Paul Lambert quite publicly went with his preference of Christian Benteke up top on his own last season, even when the vultures were circling, which shown great strength of character and belief from the young manager. The fact that Bent was replaced as captain by Ron Vlaar last season shown that Lambert really didn’t fancy Bent and his game time would be limited, he spent most of last season injured or on the bench. Also, Bent has a reputation of moving on when the going’s good and has not really settled at a club. If for example he starts well next season and once again there are few admiring glances from teams round the country, Is he likely to pick up his boots and move on? History says yes with five clubs in ten years.

The fact of the matter is this, if Darren Bent ends up at Craven Cottage, St. James Park or any other Premier League ground next season, there is one thing this lad is going to guarantee you, goals, goals, goals. What more could you want from a Number 9?

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