Darren Bent may be out of favour at Aston Villa at present, but his record when signing for a new club is mightily impressive and there looks to be plenty to gain from acquiring him in January.
Rewind two years and Bent signed for Villa in the same transfer window for a total climbing to £24m, although the deal was slightly overshadowed by the mega money changing hands in the Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll sagas.
Villa had relegation concerns at the time, but Bent’s nine goals in his first 15 appearances helped ease these fears and ensure Villa’s Premier League status.
In fact, he has a fine record when joining all of his new clubs, but particularly Charlton and Sunderland.
After signing for Charlton from Ipswich, he scored seven in as many Premier League games and eight in eight in all competitions.
Then after a stint at Tottenham he moved on to Sunderland and helped himself to eight goals in his opening nine fixtures.
With Bent potentially behind Christian Benteke, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann in Paul Lambert’s pecking order, the time looks right to move on, even if Villa have stated to date that the 28-year-old is not for sale.
An offer of around £12m may be enough to tempt Villa, especially if the funds could be reinvested to bring in an advanced, central creative midfielder.
If this materialises, 5/1 may not be the worst price that Villa finish in the top half of the Premier League this season.
The problem Bent has seemingly had under Lambert is that the boss wants a striker that impacts all team play, rather than one who realistically only comes to life when the ball is played into the penalty box.
When Villa still had Ashley Young and Stewart Downing on their books, a striker of Bent’s description was ideal, as he could feed on regular service from the wide areas.
Lambert’s tactics are different and therefore Bent isn’t anywhere near as effective.
If Bent was to leave Villa, a move to Stoke may appeal as they like to get the ball into wide areas and ensure plenty of balls into the box.
Meanwhile, the player may prefer a return to London and a striker partnership with Dimitar Berbatov could reap rich rewards at Fulham.
Which club do you think should be making an approach for Bent in January? Let us know in the comments section below.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date