One of the great debates among Villa fans in recent seasons has centred on Darren Bent. Has the striker been worth the £18 million or more that Gerard Houllier paid for him? Should Bent still be an Aston Villa player? It seems Villans are split right down the middle.
Some fans see the thirty-year-old as being our best striker to start the new season with as Kozak and Benteke will both still be injured come the opening day of the 2014-15 campaign. A lot of these supporters are still very grateful to Villa’s record signing for some crucial goals against the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal, which effectively kept Villa in the Premier League, during the latter stages of the 2010-2011 season.
To many, it appears that Bent has an attitude problem. His work rate tends to be very poor in comparison to other players on the pitch and he never seems to really put a shift in but one could argue that hassling opposing players is not part of his game as he’s there to do one job and one job only – score goals. Another reason some Villans believe he has an attitude problem is that, during a spell when he was injured and not available to play, Bent was spotted shopping rather than watching the game and supporting his team-mates. An attitude problem would also explain Paul Lambert dropping Bent from the starting XI to the ‘bomb squad’ and stripping the striker of the captain’s armband not long after awarding it to him in 2012.
In the past, there have also been suggestions that Bent has caused controversy in the dressing room. In 2012, we heard rumours that both Darren Bent and Chris Herd had been dropped from the first team temporarily as Villa staff tried to resolve a conflict between the two after Bent was accused of ‘stealing’ the Australian’s girlfriend.
Darren Bent spent last season on loan with Fulham, a team that suffered relegation from the Premier League in May. Despite the Cottagers’ struggles in the league and their failure to score too many goals, Bent never really managed to cement a place in the team and made many appearances from the substitutes’ bench, scoring three times.
Is it time to sell Bent or should we keep him and see what he can produce when the season starts? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.