I haven’t joined Aston Villa for the money, insists Darren Bent
Striker says that he opted to move from Sunderland to Villa Park "for footballing reasons"
Aston Villa new boy Darren Bent has rejected claims he quit Sunderland to secure a higher wage packet after signing a four-and-a-half year deal at Villa Park on Tuesday.
And Bent, who joins Gerard Houllier’s side for a club record £18m fee, fully expects the midlands club to rise up the Premier League table following their difficult start to the season.
“I could could have gone to West Ham for more money when I left Charlton but chose Tottenham for footballing reasons. It is the same here with Villa,” Bent, 26, said.
“People have asked why I swapped a top six club for one currently in the bottom four. But I believe Villa are in a false position, they have been sixth for the past three seasons, and it is a new challenge for me.”
The former Tottenham and Charlton forward added: “Villa are a massive club and, as soon as I knew they were interested, I wanted to be part of it and help get them back to where they belong.”
Bent admits that he regrets the way in which his 18-month spell with Sunderland ended. He added: “I am sure Steve Bruce and the fans will be disappointed and I am sorry it ended the way it did.
“But I showed my passion for the club in the two years I was there and now I am looking forward to the future with Villa.”
Bent netted 36 times in 63 appearances for Steve Bruce’s Black Cats and Villa boss Houllier believes the signing can give his side a much-needed boost for the rest of the season.
“He will be a great asset for years ahead,” said Houllier. “His arrival will send out a clear message about the ambitions of the football club. We have bought him to spearhead our attack and to help build something strong and lasting at our club.
“Darren will be a key element for us. He is 26 and entering the prime of his life. He fits the bill in terms of what we want to achieve long term.”
The Villa manager also insisted that Ashley Young and Stewart Downing would not be leaving the club in January. He said: “Ashley Young and Stewart Downing are not for sale, simple as that. They won’t be leaving. We have had no bids for them.”