Darren Bent would be crazy to leave Sunderland for Villa

by Charlie Coffey

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Darren Bent must know something we don’t know. The man has requested to be put on the transfer list to force a move from Sunderland to Aston Villa, with the Black Cats ‘reluctantly’ accepting a bid of an initial £18m rising to as much as £24m depending on his performance. Why would a player who has had such success with a squad that is knocking on the door to the European spots want to move to a club who have arguably performed the worst of any side in the Premier League this season relative to their stature?!

Bent’s ill-fated move to Spurs compared to the success he has enjoyed at Sunderland and initially at Charlton proves that he needs to be at a club that suits him.  Since he signed for Sunderland in 2009 Bent has scored 32 goals in 58 Premier League games, with only Carlos Tevez and Didier Drogba having scored more (37 each). At Spurs he scored a relatively poor 18 goals in 60 Premier League appearances. Steve Bruce has resurrected the Darren Bent we saw at Charlton, and he is now a regular fixture in the England squad.

Bruce’s Sunderland squad is a midfielder or two away from being European quality. He has two excellent ‘keepers, three strikers who are all scoring regularly (Bent, Danny Welbeck and Asamoah Gyan) and seven quality defenders. If Bent does leave, the presence of Gyan means that it might be a bigger loss for him than it is for Sunderland, who will receive a good fee with a mark-up of at least £8m on a player who cost them £10m just 18 months ago. Chairman Niall Quinn will no doubt make at least a good portion of that available for transfers.

Since Gerard Houllier took over as Villa boss he has managed to guide them on a nosedive straight into the relegation places, with their draw at Birmingham at the weekend only wrenching them up into 17th place, ahead of Wigan in 18thon goal difference only. His strikers aren’t scoring, he has managed to alienate the formerly inspirational captain Richard Dunne, and promising players such as Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor have been playing within themselves (to be polite). Since Villa won 2-0 in Bent’s first PL match for the Black Cats against Villa, the two sides drew their next game and Sunderland have won the last two, which goes some way in showing the differing fortunes of the two sides over the past couple of years.

One positive would be that as Bent is perfectly suited to playing as a lone front man, and with Villa’s four strikers having scored just that number between them all season (three of those by Emile Heskey), he would undoubtedly be the main man. But then he was at Sunderland, where he has been keeping Gyan, officially the third best African player of 2010, on the bench. Perhaps Bent would prefer to live closer to his native London and to Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, the area he moved to aged 10. Maybe he is fed up with the North East, but then as a tee-total, unmarried man you would think that Bent would stick to the best career path for him, and the club most likely to get him closer to a regular place in England’s starting line-up. Surely that club is Sunderland.

Statzone (supplied by OPTA):

0 – The only PL clubs Bent has played against without scoring are Blackpool, Reading, Sheff Utd, Watford & WBA.

1 – Bent has only assisted one goal in the Premier League since joining Sunderland.

81 – Since August 2005 Bent has scored 81 Premier League goals. Only Rooney & Drogba (both 82) have more in the same period.

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  • TJ

    Villa can pay him more money, the main thing missing from their team is a striker (has been for decades) and the fans will love him. The team he is joining is playing really badly but the overall quality of the players on paper is better than Sunderland – this squad finished 6th last season, take away Milner add Walker Makoun Ireland Bent. In the long term it is probably a better option for him looking for European football.

    If you base it only (as you have) on events this season, obviously it would be a strange move.

  • steve

    I am a Villa fan but just want to express my surprise as to why everyone think Bent is making an awful decision! For the past 3 seasons, Villa have finished 6th place, with the last two- at some point in the season, vying for 4th spot. At the beginning of the season Martin O’Neil left us in an awful state. Having your manager leave with a day or so until kick off to the new season is sure to create upset! .. and it did! We lost our stability and new manager Gerrard Houllier has therefore undertaken one hell of a job to get us out of this mess.

    So this is what I can’t understand. You infer how Sunderland are better than Villa, but how can you? We are having our worst season for 8 years due to the departure of MON. But this is how things go. Teams go through bad times. That is all it is. A bad time. Lerner has now given the money and GH is trying to shoot us back up the table to where we belong.

    We are a great team with a proud history, with an even brighter future!!!

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Mystical Mike

    erh, the league table doesn’t lie. Sunderland are in 6th place having one lost 5 games, only Manure & City have lost less.

    Villa are 4th bottom and struggling with a manager is out of touch and maybe out of his depth.

    Sunderland are going places, Villa are not!

  • chris b

    Mystic Mike i suggest you clean your crystal ball. Bent wants out end of story

  • Jinksy

    Darren Bent is going to one of the Big 6. Villa are having a bad season due to the mess left by martin O”Neill leaving 5 days before the season starts.
    Does anyone seriously think Sunderland are bigger than Villa??? And that by this time next season Sunderland will be higher than Villa???
    We are having a bad season YES but we wont get relegated and will come back strong next seson with more additions to our squad & our fantastic youth coming through.
    Look at History it tells you that the cream rises to the top and Villa will be back very soon. Why because we are spending big to put MON’s mess right. We now have a goal machine up front & the defence is being worked on as i write.

  • Jinksy

    Mystical Mike – Sunderland are going places!!!!! Hahahaha by selling their best players!!!! hahahah you idiot.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Mystical Mike

    at this moment in time I would say yes, Sunderland are a bigger club than Villa, they seem to have more money, more ambition & are playing better football.

    You’re living in the past Jinksy, Villa haven’t been a force since the 80’s.

  • littleletters

    If anyone has watched Bent this season, they’ll have seen a player out of confidence and with a poor touch. Whether this is just a poor period or last season was a freak, it’s hard to tell – his big return last season could be argued to have skewed the stats either way. The one thing that is clear, is that he wasn’t last season, and will never be, worth £20m – this move suits Sunderland more than Villa, although they may struggle up front if they can’t get someone in by the end of the window, with Wellbeck & Campbell both injured. Gyan can work a lone furrow, but he’s better playing off someone. This fee smacks of desperation by Villa, who can’t grind out results and don’t look up for the fight.

  • Matt Quinn

    People said the same thing when Owen Coyle left Burnley for Bolton. At the time Burnley were above Bolton in the league and for some reason people saw it as a step down. Not the case then, and its not the case for Bent.

    Presently: Villa have consistently been in the top 6 for last 3 seasons. Sunderland have not.

    Past: Villa have a great history and have won the European cup. Sunderland have not.

    Future: This season, Villa have struggled but we have had around 11/12 players injured for most of the year. Against Spurs, Man Utd, Arsenal we had to play a midfield of Ciaran Clark, Jonathon Hogg, Barry Bannan and Marc Albrighton. Its not rocket science to work out why we have struggled. (as talented as these youngsters are). Our squad is strong and getting stronger- having also bought Jean Makoun and loaned Kyle Walker (who looks sensational). Our experienced players are now also coming back from injury. I have no doubt that Villa will be back above Sunderland in no time at all.

  • Realistic

    As a Spurs fan I find it funny how people are jumping on the bandwagon just because Villa have had a bad half a season! Bent isn’t stupid, he knows Sunderland can’t go any further, but at Villa he has the resources to at least compete in the long-term. It’s very difficult to suggest at the moment that Villa can if you’re just looking at the league table but people were saying that about us when Harry arrived. Martin Jol nearly got us there, then we had a slump but we all knew it was a matter of time before we got back up there. The top 8 in this country, regardless of what the league says, are Spurs, Man U, Man Citeh, Liverpool, Everton, Chelsea, Villa and unfortunately, Ar*enal. Bent knows it. In all fairness to Sunderland they are as close to that group as anyone but Villa remind me so much of what we’ve done that I am more worried about them in the next few years than I am Chelsea. They have a good squad coming together like we did and their chairmen seems ready to spend again. With Man U not far away from losing Giggs, Scholes and most importantly Fergie, there is every chance that the top 4 in this country could be Spurs, Man City, Villa and as much as I hate to admit it, Ar*enal before we know it

  • littleletters

    History counts for nothing. Clubs do not remain successful on the basis of history; they remain successful on the basis of the management team (by which I mean the owner down). Learner was a fool to let MON go, and Houllier was an appointment that left all but the most optimistic and blinkered Villa fans stunned. I wish Villa no ill, but on this board you are beginning to sound like Liverpool fans. I hope your lads roll up their sleeves and fight for their place in the premiership, because if they have the laurel-resting attitude of the posters on this board they look certain to be taking a dip in the murky, sticky waters of the championship.

  • g

    what is going through darren bents head i do not know, but the situation at villa just reminds me of the situation at newcastle a couple of seasons back, a supposed massive club with fans who are oblivious to the real world and fantasising about “the good old days”, they went and splashed the cash on michael owen and where did they end up? the championship. Sunderland is a club going places, we’ve got a wealthy owner, a chairman that knows the game inside out and is respected by everyone who he deals with, a bigger stadium and average attendance than villa, fantastic training facilities and academy, good manager with high ambitions, a squad with the youngest average age in the league, which with a couple of more years experiance and a couple of additions in key areas could be capable of at least challenging for europe and domestic silverware regularly. one thing is for sure, if the transfer doesnt go through and darren ends up back at sunderland, he’ll have alot of bridges to build.

  • littleletters

    Randy is putting his hand in his pocket because he is worried about losing the Premiership $$$$, not because he will continue to do so in the future. Of the two teams, Sunderland have the richer, more generous owner, do your research.

  • Carl

    Matt Quinn. You say presently, Villa have finished in the top 6 for the past 3 seasons. Correct me if i’m wrong, but surely that is the past. Presently sunderland are 6th playing some decent stuff and villa are 17th playing some of the worst football I have ever seen villa play.

    As a sunderland fan, I am a little shocked that Bent wants to leave. My only assumption for the reason he wants to leave is to be closer to his family, which is completely understandable so I wish him all the best and thank him for the goals.

    However this season he has looked a pale shadow of last season. This may be down to his unhappiness which I’d be a bit disappointed with as I thought he was a little more professional than that. So far this season, Bent has been our 3rd best forward behind Gyan and Welbeck. It will be a shame to see him leave but £24million is a very good bit of business.

    You talk of the past, present and future and give Sunderland absolutely no respect which I do take offence to. Sunderland have a great history. I suggest you do a bit of research in future. Also Steve Bruce is building a very strong, young squad that will, in my opinion, be challenging for Europe come the end of the season.

    I wish Bent and Villa the very best for the season.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Mystical Mike

    it’s true Villa fans, you are starting to sound like Liverpool fans.

    Your are not to good to go down.

    It’s true that MON took you as far as you can go, or that’s what we are led to believe. I think the board must have made some serious errors, maybe O’Neil wanted to buy some world class players so Villa really could be title contenders.

    As for injuries, Arsenal who don’t spend as much as Villa on players have managed to finish in the top 4 consistently without the whole spine of their team.

  • Gazza

    The only comment I have to say on the matter as a sunderland fan is that if bent’s heart is not in the club we have to thank him for everything that he has done for sunderland and wish him all the best in the future ( Other then while playing AGAINST us) but the time has come to sell him as he requested and look for someone new to join sunderland with fire in there belly!

  • Josh

    I have to confess this move is strange, but for no other reason than timing. I do not believe for one second that Sunderland are a bigger club than Villa, and I don’t think that sitting in 6th half way through the season, whilst Villa lie in 17th, is any sort of proof. Yes, Villa have been ravished by injuries, but it’s not the sole reason for their recent demise, they have poor strikers and have a somewhat chaotic season with the departure of O’Neill who made them a force in English football again.

    Sunderland have a boss who is notorious for buying cheap and selling high, a sort of small time Wenger…with a better defence. Bruce has no qualms selling his players for a high enough price, which is why it’s only a matter of time before the young talent that is driving Sunderland forward is sold off. Jordan Henderson will not be there for much longer, I think we all know that.

    Villa have a manager that is still finding his feet, yes. But they also have a manager that is beginning to build his own team and is giving Villa the one thing they’re screaming out for…a striker! The price is high, yes. But, when you look at the OPTA stats provided, it could well be justified. Houllier is looking to kick start Villa again and I think they will easily avoid relegation, in part because 3 other teams are so awful. Villa are firmly in that second tier of big clubs, behind the top 4, they have a big ground that brings in revenue as a venue for music acts etc. Despite their predicament at the moment, they will certainly be Top 10 by the end of the campaign. I have no doubts that Bent will be part of the reason.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Mystical Mike

    done deal, 24m.

    For those of you who keep slagging off Arsenal’s defence, look at the stats, conceded 22, only Man U, City & Chelsea have conceded less with 19.

  • chef

    simple truth in life
    if someone isnt happy
    uve got to let the fucker go
    no matter what hes done fer ye
    cos itll turn out to be
    the one bad apple syndrome
    im gutted hes gone
    but im absolutly dissapointed in himas a human being
    the way hes done it
    the rumours have been there
    and we brushed it under the carpet in august
    but the fucker has got his way in the end
    ive heard the storys of him cryin on some birds shoulder in some bar
    that he wanted away…….
    all i can say is
    fuck off benty
    cos we put ye back on the rails
    and now yer tryin to knock us off the tracks

  • chef

    good article tho darren

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