A Darren Bent Loan Move to Fulham Suits All Parties
It was known from the second half of last season that Darren Bent had no part to play for Aston Villa under Paul Lambert. On end of season chat with Lambert confirmed it, while the new squad shirt numbers advertised the fact.
Darren Bent was perhaps in the most intriguing of the so-called ‘Bomb Squad’ (apart from the question of ‘how the hell are Villa going to get rid of Stephen Ireland?’). Villa’s record signing should be the club’s prized asset. Costing up to £24 million and on wages reported to be £65,000-a-week, the club must have expected to recoup at least some of his transfer fee, if the day ever came to sell the England international.
A proven goalscorer, his powers haven’t exactly diminished, as he proved on the last day of the season with his swan song goal away at Wigan. The only problem it seems is he doesn’t fit into Lambert’s system, with the 4-4-2 giving way to 4-5-1/4-3-3, where his poacher-like instincts are of secondary value to a more complete striker. Surely at least half the clubs in the Premier League would welcome such as striker who has one of the most consistent strike rates in the league?
Of course, what complicates matters is the figures. Bent turns 30 in February, so why many clubs would envisage the striker would have two years tops at his prime left. With over three million pounds in wages a year to fork out, it’s difficult to envisage any club wanting to take a punt on a long term contract. After all, Villa were also keen for a transfer fee in the region of £6 million.
A solid approach from Newcastle has been dismissed as a myth, despite what Joe Kinnear said to the contrary. The very factors indicated above would have made them think twice anyway, not to mention the fact, Bent’s Sunderland connection wouldn’t sit well with their fans.
He would have been a perfect signing for Crystal Palace, with their manager Ian Holloway even thinking a loan arrangement was a done deal, even this morning. Initially, it was reported, they wanted to pay £40,000-a-week wages, then as well as a loan fee, offer Villa a bonus payment, if Bent helped keep them up.
Bent though always preferred the option of playing for a more established Premiership team and Fulham were almost the most likely with the Martin Jol connection, a manager who he played for at Spurs.
Today, was the last day a player could sign to be eligible for the start of the new season; it was a deadline that finally forced Fulham to act with intent.
The reported £2million loan fee and the fact that Fulham will cover his £65,000-a-week wages is probably as good as it gets for Villa. He also won’t be able to come back and haunt us, when Villa play Fulham, as he will be exempt from playing due to the terms of his contract.
What happens after the loan is almost immaterial; if Bent has a decent season, he will no doubt get a move out on reduced wages.
It’s a deal that makes Villa at least £5 million richer this season. Bent will get to ply his trade at a decent club in the Premiership. In short, it’s a win-win situation for all concerned. UTV.
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