Randy Lerner hasn’t spent much on players since his arrival at Aston Villa. However, one player who did cost him a lot of money was Darren Bent. He cost the club a massive £24 million in January 2011. Since his arrival, Bent has made sixty-one appearances and scored twenty-one goals for Villa, which is a shocking return for the amount the club paid for him.
It is not all bad, however. Over the last two seasons, we have seen Bent loaned out to various clubs and it is fair to say that he has done an average job for those clubs at best. Nevertheless, his current spell at Derby County is looking much more promising: he has made thirteen appearances so far and has scored ten goals. This is the form we would expect of a £24 million striker. Some would argue that his record is no surprise since Derby County is a club in the Championship rather than the Premier League. If you were to put the two leagues together, the Rams sit only ten places below the Villans and the Rams are among the favourites to gain promotion to the Premier League next season. Others would argue that the Villa squad doesn’t need a striker as it already includes Benteke, who is scoring more goals than Bent. I don’t think Bent is like Benteke: Benteke is a striker who comes into the midfield and wins the balls whilst Bent is more of a poacher. If you consider having Bent and Benteke up front, with Agbonlahor and maybe Sinclair (if he signs for us in the summer) to support them, then you have a very attractive front line which has pace, strength and the ability to score goals.
Sherwood would be better off keeping Bent at Aston Villa than allowing him to go for free when his contract expires because if for some reason we don’t get a new buyer in the summer then I seriously doubt Lerner will give Sherwood much, if any, cash to spend on quality players. Darren Bent has been, and can still be, a quality player. If he were to be given one extra season on his contract then I would be confident that he could come good for Villa. We cannot let his huge transfer fee go to waste. Some people may have forgotten that Bent used to be in the starting XI for the England team, which is a reminder that he has the experience and knowledge needed to be a good striking option for the Villans.
Many people will disagree with me, as they feel Bent is a waste of space and too expensive to have on our books but if a buyer doesn’t snap the club up then we need all the resources we can get our hands on. If Benteke were to be injured for half the season then who would to take his place? It’s important that Tom Fox and other key officials at the club think ahead: if the worst happens and we don’t find a buyer then we will have to be prepared for that situation.
Perhaps if we get through to the FA Cup final then we can be more confident about the new season, whoever our owner will be. As we wait for news, let’s just enjoy Sunday’s must-watch game and back our boys.