Aston Villa Focus – Darren Bent situation provides unwelcome distraction for Aston Villa

It was just seven months ago that most Villa fans were praying for a speedy recovery for their star man Darren Bent, who at that point was injured under the Alex McLeish regime. Villa struggled in their final months of last season, not winning a single match in their final 10, and many fans had put that down to Bent’s absence.

His return at the start of the season gave fans hope, and with new manager Paul Lambert in charge, everyone expected Bent to be back to his best under a much more attacking manager. What has happened in those short seven months is nothing short of remarkable. Having being handed the captaincy at Villa, all seemed rosy at the season’s start. However, Bent did not start the season too well, putting in some poor performances in games against West Ham and Everton. Goals would eventually come against Southampton and in the local derby against West Bromwich Albion. However, his goal in that match was coming from the bench, and since then he has never reclaimed his place.

Paul Lambert has fielded questions almost every week regarding his absence, and has responded by saying that all he asks for his hard work in training. It is clear to everyone that Christian Benteke certainly deserves his place in the side, scoring decisive goals in both league and cup matches throughout the season. If Lambert continues to play his 4-5-1/4-3-3 system, then dropping Benteke would be the only option to fit in a player of Bent’s attributes. With Benteke performing so well, a return for Bent does not seem likely in the near future. 

If Bent is not going to play, there is only one option that Villa can take, and that is to sell him. With his price tag and high wages, a club of Villa’s size cannot sustain a luxury player like him without a return in goals and points on the league table. January is now less than a month away, and if Villa’s plan is to sell Bent, his name will now begin to be touted around by his agent and by the club themselves to rival teams in the league. Villa will almost certainly want double figures for a striker who cost them up to £24 million just two years ago, but for that price it may be hard to find a buyer for the England front man.

With Villa unbeaten in their last three matches, and Bent playing no part in them, Lambert’s decision to leave him out seems to be the right choice. With tough games to come for Villa against Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Liverpool, Villa’s recent good form which has seen them climb out of the bottom three may just take another dip. If that were to be the case, fans may begin to question Lambert’s choices, as an in form Darren Bent can score that all important goal that can win a match, whoever the opponent may be.

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