Aston Villa Transfer Focus – Bent asking price not yet met

Fulham are continuing in their pursuit of want-away striker Darren Bent as they look to end his Aston Villa exile, with Newcastle United’s interest having cooled. However, despite offers being submitted by both clubs neither have met Villa’s valuation, leaving the England international’s future still to be decided.

Earlier this summer, Fulham saw a £4m bid rejected, but have now replied with an improved offer of around £4.75m, as they look to add more of a goal threat to their attack. Villa are holding firm, with their valuation of Bent being around £6m, according to the Daily Mail, as they look to recoup slightly more money for Bent in what will be a considerable loss, having signed him for a record £24m in January 2011.

Despite that, in order to ensure Bent’s departure, Villa may be forced to lower their asking price with Fulham seeming unwilling to offer as much as £6m. When Bent’s wages, thought to be in the region of £65,000 per week, are considered, it would be an expensive deal.

Alan Pardew’s side were rumoured to be chasing Bent this summer but it appears that their attention has turned to other striking targets, with the Magpies on the brink of signing Lyon’s Bafetimbi Gomis, and are thought to be interested in a season-long loan deal for Queens Park Rangers’ Loic Remy. The Daily Telegraph reported that their new director of football, Joe Kinnear, refused to offer more than £2m for Bent.

His departure still remains likely, though, with Villa boss Paul Lambert seeking to move Bent on – the 29-year-old earns high wages despite there being little prospect of first-team action next season. Bent spent most of last season on the bench, playing second fiddle to Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann, and as a result scored just three goals.

Lambert has previously indicated that there would be no place for Bent in his first-team plans next season, and the signing of Nicklas Helenius from Aalborg earlier this summer, adding to the club’s other striking options, pretty much guarantees that.

And with Bent currently training with several other outcasts who are surplus to requirements, including Stephen Ireland and Alan Hutton, the former Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland forward is trying desperately to force a move, as he looks to revive his career elsewhere.

Meanwhile, in terms of Villa’s summer overall, Lambert should have every reason to be pleased with his transfer business, ahead of the new Premier League season, with several signings confirmed before the end of June. The new recruits are made up of several promising young players who have gained experience in some of Europe’s other top leagues, and earned international caps.

The club’s only real dilemma has been their struggle to find new clubs for outcasts such as Bent. Richard Dunne and Brett Holman have been moved on this summer, but Lambert still faces a challenge to remove other senior players who have been cast aside.

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