Aston Villa’s Darren Bent could provide Liverpool with clinical edge
Aston Villa's Darren Bent could be the answer to Liverpool's struggles in front of goal this season, writes Kieran Beckles
Darren Bent could be the right man to solve Liverpool’s woes in front of goal – but the biggest stumbling block in any potential move for the Aston Villa striker would be his price-tag.
But with Andy Carroll still misfiring and Luis SuÃ¡rez serving his lengthy ban, Kenny Dalglish could attempt to lure Bent to Merseyside with the promise of European football next season.
News of a potential move for the 27-year-old has received a mixed response from Liverpool supporters. But Bent has a proven track record in the Premier League.
By the time the striker turned 23, he had already netted 32 goals during a two-year spell at Charlton Athletic and when the Addicks dropped down to the Championship in 2007, it was no surprise to see Bent make an immediate return to the top flight as he secured a £16.5m move to Tottenham Hotspur.
But Bent’s time at Spurs was not a success as he spent two seasons being used largely as a substitute and struggling to justify his transfer fee.
He managed to salvage his stalling career at Sunderland, even taking to Twitter to force Spurs chairman Daniel Levy into sanctioning his move to the Stadium of Light, and once the switch was complete, the striker soon became a crowd favourite, averaging a goal every other game.
It prompted Villa owner Randy Lerner, known for his astute purchases, to part with £18m to bring the forward to Villa Park last January – and Bent has since gone some way to justifying his fee, with 15 goals in 31 appearances.
Those who suggest he would be unable to make the grade at a “big club” are basing their claims on the striker’s time at Spurs, a spell which saw Bent fall behind Dimitar Berbatov, Jermaine Defoe and Robbie Keane in the pecking order at White Hart Lane.
And a brief glance at his league stats provides a compelling case for any potential suitors.
The Ipswich Town youth product is just four goals shy of a Premier League century and over the past five seasons, only Wayne Rooney has scored more league goals ““ the Manchester United striker has 104 strikes compared to Bent’s 96.
Since 2005 he has regularly finished amongst the top English goalscorers ““ only Defoe, Steven Gerrard and Rooney have managed to better Bent’s goal tally.
And with Dalglish keen to keep a distinctly British flavour at Liverpool, the Villa forward would fit perfectly into the Scot’s plans and could provide a clinical edge, a lack of which which has hampered the Reds’ progress in the league this term.
But the biggest obstacle blocking any possible move would be Bent’s price.
He has racked up transfer fees worth £47m in a career spanning 10 seasons and it is difficult to see Villa allowing their England international move to Anfield for a loss.
Having spent a combined £57.8m on Carroll and SuÃ¡rez in January 2011, Dalglish is under pressure to make shrewd signings after the pair’s mixed success. And then there are the huge transfer fees which he paid for Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing.
Bent’s prolific finishing would make him a hit at Anfield should Dalglish make a move to sign the England striker, but the key question is at what cost?
Darren Bent: His career at a glance
2001-2005: Ipswich Town: 126 appearances (48 goals)
2005-2007: Charlton Athletic: 68 appearances (31 goals)
2007-2009: Tottenham Hotspur: 50 appearances (18 goals)
2009-2011: Sunderland: 58 appearances (32 goals)
2011-present: Aston Villa: 32 appearances (15 goals)