While clubs scour the globe to find the next goal scoring gem to fire them up the table, their answer could be closer to home than they are looking.
Darren Bent is a man who has been frozen out completely in the Paul Lambert regime at Aston Villa, despite no public confirmation of the two falling out. However common sense would suggest that something is wrong when a manager isn’t playing a striker who has scored more Premier League goals than anyone else over the last four seasons, bar Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.
While appreciating the fact Christian Benteke has done well up front for Villa this season, he is still a raw talent and I can’t personally see why Lambert would shun a proven goal scorer such as Bent while his side face a relegation battle.
I understand the 28-year-old is one that will divide opinion for his lack of contribution in games apart from the goals themselves, but regular scorers like him are gold dust as at the end of the day, goals win games.
He is the kind of player who enjoys the responsibility as well, and one who won’t shy away from putting himself in the right positions even when the chips are down.
Going back to his record over the last four seasons, while Rooney has an impressive 72 to his name, followed by Van Persie on 68, it is Bent who comes in third with 62 in 117 games worth of Premier League football, impressive by any standards.
By pointing out those stats, I am not for one second suggesting that he is a striker that clubs with title aspirations should be looking to bring in, but if you’re asking me if I think he would have scored more goals than the likes of Giroud and Podolski have for Arsenal? I would be inclined to say yes, although I am aware that more was expected from the pair and that Arsenal’s ambitions are beyond players such as Bent.
I am making a point that you don’t always have to bring in players from abroad. Although it is understandable that a lot of the time managers do this to avoid the inflated transfer fees often given to Premier League players. I am targeting this piece at clubs who could afford to sign Bent.
When you look at the likes of Steven Fletcher, who moved from relegated Wolves to Sunderland, and Demba Ba who earned himself a switch to the European Champions from Newcastle, it shows the success that can be gained from looking closer to home when it comes to transfer dealings.
For a club fighting for survival, it is even more of a risk signing a player from another country in January and pinning the hopes of survival on them, without any time for him to bed into his new surroundings. It is also a lot easier to settle into a club that is doing well, as Papiss Cisse’s January move to St James’ Park showed last season.
Alan Pardew’s Newcastle have to consider themselves in a relegation battle now. After losing Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse looking a shadow of his former self, and Shola Ameobi never being the most prolific, the Magpies boss is on the search for a new source of goals as it is very difficult to stay up with a lack of fire power in the team.
I wouldn’t put it past QPR boss Harry Redknapp coming in with an audacious bid for Bent either, after already snatching Loic Remy from under the noses of Newcastle in a bid for survival. While he had his own altercations with Bent during his time in charge of Tottenham, famously commenting on a chance the striker had missed during a game as one his “missus could have scored“, he will be aware of his qualities.
The England international has just returned from an injury lay off and of course Lambert may rule out any move for him this winter, with his side in a very delicate position in their fight to stay in the Premier League. However if he was to become available, even if it was in the summer, then I believe clubs should take a look at him.
At 28-years-old, he still has plenty to offer and if Villa do let him go, then I feel it could be a suicidal move and the difference between them staying up and going down.