Bent wants to leave Sunderland

Sunderland striker Darren Bent has handed in a transfer request on the same day Aston Villa tabled an offer for the player.

Villa are ready to part with 18 million pounds to sign Bent as they hope to stave off relegation after a poor start to the season.

Upon learning of the offer, Bent expressed his desire to leave the Stadium of Light, as confirmed in a statement released by Sunderland on the club’s website.

“The club can confirm that it received a written transfer (request) from Darren Bent following yesterday’s Wear-Tyne derby match,” the statement read.

Bent has been a hit with Sunderland fans, having scored 36 goals in 63 appearances for the club after he joined from Tottenham for 10 million pounds.

But after Sunderland boss Steve Bruce signed Asamoah Gyan in the summer for a club record 13 million pounds, competition for places up front has been hot, with Manchester United loanee Danny Welbeck also chipping in with six goals for the Black Cats.

The signing would boost Villa’s hopes of staying up, with new manager Gerard Houllier desperately trying to rectify his side’s problems in front of goal.

Aston Villa have scored just 24 goals in 22 Premier League matches this season, with wingers Stewart Downing and Marc Albrighton the club’s top scorers.

Strikers Emile Heskey, John Carew and Gabriel Agbonlahor have contributed just three goals between them, reiterating Houllier’s need for a quality striker.

The 18-million-pound fee is likely to represent all of Villa’s transfer window budget, with the club already having signed Jean Makoun for six million pounds from Lyon so far in January.