It is no secret that Darren Bent is likely to depart Aston Villa this summer and with a return to London mooted to be preferred, it is right that Fulham and Crystal Palace are considered the favourites to secure his signature.
Villa made a marked effort to get a high number of their higher earners off their books last season and a continuation of this strategy is a primary reason that record signing Bent will be allowed to leave, earning in the region of £65,000 a week.
Their eagerness to sell may even mean that Bent is allowed to go for a third of the £24m that they paid Sunderland in 2011, although Paul Lambert will hope to recoup somewhere in the region of £12m to help fund his own transfer targets.
Burnley striker Charlie Austin has been linked as a replacement for Bent in attack, while interest is also said to be firm for Lech Poznan winger Aleksandar Tonev.
As for Bent, Fulham are considered the favourites at 2/1 to be his club at the end of the summer transfer window and Martin Jol has already found success from one former Villa signing in Steve Sidwell.
Bent’s wages could be a stumbling block in such a move.
Therefore, Premier League newcomers Crystal Palace may be the better bet to bring Bent back to London at 3/1, as they will want a striker with top-flight experience to help in their quest for survival.
Palace have money to spend after agreeing the sale of Wilfried Zaha to Manchester United and will be fully aware of Bent’s ability to score goals in teams struggling to find the net, especially in his former exploits at Charlton.
Based on the betting, Bent does have some other options outside of London, with 10/1 the price that he joins Mark Hughes at Stoke and 12/1 that Cardiff offer him a route out of Villa.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.