Is Darren Bent a top striker?

By Online Editorial    

In an age when visitors of the Twitter website seem to know things long before anyone else, Ralph Ellis looks at the role it has played in Darren Bent’s on/off transfer to Sunderland. One thing is for sure though: give Bent starts and he’ll score you goals.

Maybe it’s an age thing, but I tend to side with David Cameron on the subject of Twitter. As the Tory leader pointed out on a radio interview this week: “There’s a danger that too many Tweets can make a tw*t!”

That’s certainly what’s happened to Darren Bent, who appears to have used his page on the social networking site to have had a rant at Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy for holding up his move to Sunderland.

Levy, having driven down the price for Peter Crouch and then signed him from Portsmouth, is now trying to get top money for Bent from Sunderland, and using the interest of both Hull and Stoke to try to drive the price up. That seems to have got Bent’s goat, and on his Twitter page he’s said: “Do I wanna go to Hull City – NO. Do I wanna go Stoke – NO. Do I wanna go Sunderland – YES. So stop f****ing around, Levy.”

Spurs, predictably, are full of fury and trying to establish for certain whether Bent himself was the author of those words or whether they were written without his knowledge. And the irony is that instead of speeding up his move to The Stadium of Light, the episode could slow it down even more. Levy is not going to want to be seen to have buckled to any sort of pressure.

All of that is another headache for Steve Bruce who has been trying so hard to move his new club forward. He had Crouch in the North East for a tour of the stadium and training ground with a fee agreed, but the lanky England striker was always hoping to stay in London to support the career of his fiancée Abbey Clancy. Now he could have to wait longer to complete the signature of the next striker on his list.

Mind you, the latest debacle is fairly consistent with Bent’s career at Tottenham because from the moment Martin Jol paid £16.5million to sign him from Charlton, things have never quite worked out. A first glance at his figures make him look a complete flop, in fact, because he got just 12 Premier League goals last season and barely half a dozen the year before.

Jol might have bought him but didn’t pick him, and then he got lost in the mire as Juande Ramos preferred to play Berbatov and Keane – and last season Harry Redknapp clearly didn’t want him either.

Take a look behind those stats, though, and there’s clearly a player waiting to get out. Add up his few starts and his appearances as sub, and he was on the pitch last term for 2,166 minutes.

That’s the equivalent of 24 full games, and then suddenly a dozen goals is not such a bad return. And his career record at first Ipswich and Charlton, when both were in the top flight, has brought 96 goals from 203 starts, a return of almost one in two.

At 25-years-old, it suggests that once Bruce can get through all the obstacles and complete the signing he could be getting a real asset. From Bent’s own point of view he’ll be playing every game, and suddenly that could make the 15.0 currently on offer for him to be the top English goalscorer in the Premier League a juicy bet.

Five things you might not know about Darren Bent

1. Born in Tooting in South London, dad Mervyn had been a youth team centre half at Wimbledon and Brentford. As a boy Darren was an Arsenal fan and his hero was Ian Wright.

2. His parents moved to Huntingdon near Cambridge when he was aged ten, and Ipswich found him playing for the youth team of Eastern Counties League side Godmanchester Rovers

3.He was once given a formal police caution after a boy was struck with a pellet from an air gun.

4.He’s a regular at a South London restaurant called Island Fusion which specialises in Caribbean food. A move to Sunderland won’t help their takings!

5. He used to wear Nike boots until a year ago, but was switched to Umbro last November after the American giants bought the British firm.

Reproduced with permission from © The Sporting Exchange Limited

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