One thing that has not been particularly synonymous with Aston Villa in past seasons is the urge to move quickly in the transfer market, with doing business early allowing maximum time to prepare for the upcoming season.
Therefore, it must be refreshing for Villa fans to see that Paul Lambert has already brought in a handful of new faces, with a couple more still potentially to follow.
Although Villa’s squad was not the biggest last season, a few departures are also likely at Villa Park to balance the books and it is some of the higher earners that Lambert seems especially keen to get rid of.
Darren Bent is one such player, with Villa’s striking ranks boosted by the recent acquisition of Nicklas Helenius from Aalborg and the new contract signed by Andreas Weimann.
Bent is 3/1 to still be a Villa player at the end of the summer transfer window and this looks a price worth avoiding.
There is interest in the striker, notably from Newcastle and Fulham, but the main stumbling block so far seems to be Bent’s wages.
No interesting parties appear willing to match his terms at Villa and so there is a real possibility that the club will have to pay the shortfall caused by leaving before the end of his contract.
However, given that he does not future in Lambert’s plans, the decision may be taken that this is for the long-term best of the club, particularly if Stephen Ireland and Shay Given are also sold.
Newcastle are the favourites to be Bent’s club on September 1st at 7/4 and as they look short on striking options, this remains his most likely move.
If Bent wishes to return to London, then Fulham would enter the reckoning at 5/2, while speculation has indicated that Steve Bruce is also keen to have Bent lead his line again at Hull after the pair previously worked together at Sunderland.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication