Darren Bent has always scored goals, wherever he has been. For whatever reason he isn’t held in the esteem of the likes of Jermain Defoe or Peter Crouch, but he has an excellent goalscoring record. He is a victim of his own type; the player who ‘only’ scores goals. Because his touch isn’t pretty and his game is based on pace and goal getting, he can be a bit frustrating. For this reason, he’s only had a brief spell with Spurs as a chance at a top club. Even there his record wasn’t too bad, but it is remembered more for the glaring misses, chances that Harry Redknapp’s mother could have scored, than his near one goal in three 25 goals in 79 appearances. Compared to Peter Crouch at Spurs (24 goals in 93 games) it’s not too bad and only marginally less than Jermain Defoe’s goals per game ration at the club.

But aside from that Spurs spell, his ratio has been nearer to, and often better than, one in two, the holy grail of the striker. His career ratio is one goal every 2.3 games. Which compares favourably to the likes of Robbie Keane (1:2.7) Crouch (1:3.3) Defoe (1:2.4) and even Wayne Rooney (1:2.2). Bent has always shown pedigree and always scored goals. And yet he is not thought of as being in these players’ calibre.

Darren Bent

Aston Villa paid Sunderland £18m for Darren Bent in January 2011 to help them out of a relegation battle. He rewarded them with nine goals in 16 games over the rest of that season. He was then in and out of the team, many suspecting it was to avoid paying Sunderland extra money, but still managed nine in 22. However, last summer saw the arrival of Paul Lambert and the pursuit of a different transfer policy. With him came youth and lower wages. And most importantly, Christian Benteke. The young Belgian surged in to the team and with Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor either side, gave Villa a dynamic front three. But no place for the £18m man Bent.

With this in mind, and Villa’s desire to keep trimming the wage bill, Bent looks almost certain to leave this summer. There should be no shortage of takers, but where will he end up?

Newcastle have been linked most prominently in the press and the arrival of Joe Kinnear has added to this. On the understanding that he wants a striker and will prioritise the domestic market, Bent looks like an obvious solution. Never mind his ex-Sunderland days, they need a goalscorer. Much will depend on the future of Papiss Cisse though. Bent will not move anywhere that will result in him sitting on the bench. But Newcastle pay Cisse to be a starter. There is only room for one.

Norwich are making a real effort to improve their goal getting and the pace and movement of Bent will look very dangerous next to the equally swift Ricky van Wolfswinkel. Norwich have some nice creativity in wide areas with Robert Snodgrass and Anthony Pilkington but need pure goal scorers. Bent is capable of getting them 15-20 with good supply and he’d be a nailed on starter.

Stoke have to be in play for Bent. New manager Mark Hughes needs to add goals to an otherwise awful attack and Bent gives them the kind of poacher they don’t have. They’ve got a group of variously talented strikers but none are pure goal poachers. They also need to add players who can make chances mind, but what few chances they do get need someone to put them away. They’ve got some money to spend too.

Hull are a decent outside bet as it was under Steve Bruce that Bent enjoyed his best form for Sunderland. They need to show the kind of ambition to persuade him to come though, but if they can add a few creative players they might be able to persuade him.

Whoever gets Bent is in all likelihood getting a bargain. Villa are not in a strong negotiating position given that it’s pretty common knowledge that they want rid. A bid of £5-6m could end up getting the buyer a 15 or even 20 goals striker with the right supply line and total confidence in him to let him start every week.


  1. Spurs the ONLY top club Bent has played for ? Who writes this garbage ! Villa and Sunderland both have great histories and bigger support than spurs so the only reason I can see for calling spurs a top club is coz they are from London typical cockney arrogance !

    • Bent has only played in European competition for Spurs and, of all teams, Ipswich.

      Certainly Villa and Sunderland are big clubs with proud histories, but during Bent’s time at both of them, haven’t figured to be in the top six/won a cup/played in Europe.

      He got to Villa too late to do that, and arrived as they were on a gradual downward slope that, as you well know, led to the McLeish malaise. It’s literally referring exclusively to the clubs as they relate to Bent’s career.

  2. Strange comment about pedigree, while he may not be considered as highly Rooney and maybe Defoe he is on a par with Keane (close run thing) and is considered by most, rightly, to be miles ahead of Crouch.

    There is an argument that he is one dimensional and doesn’t do much for the team hence needs a team built around him but for a one trick pony, scoring goals is a good trick to have

    Lambert has a different philosophy on football where players are expected to do more, work hard and fit in to a pattern and not be an individual star. This doesn’t make what Bent does wrong, just different. The Norwich fan doesn’t want him and I respect that but think he could do well for them, as he could for Villa (again) if we tailored our football to make it work for him (which we won’t)

    in short, for a team willing to feed the Bent, he will score

  3. Dont see where Norwich come in I dont think they could afford the fee and the wages he would require. No disrespect to Norwich but given a choice he would go to newcastle because they are.a bigger club but you never know in football.


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