The David Bentley conundrum

This week Sunderland were linked with a £10 million swoop for Tottenham duo David Bentley and Jamie O’Hara, with both players deemed to be surplus to requirements at White Hart Lane. Bentley in particular has been excelling for Spurs in the absence of Aaron Lennon, but despite his string of excellent performances, does he still have a future with the club?

This season, Bentley has played in a total of 17 games for Spurs, scoring 4 goals and weighing in with 7 assists. Nine of those games have come in the Premiership and are a result of the injury to Lennon, as before Bentley was mainly used in the Carling Cup. With Lennon out, Bentley has ascended into the first team and produced some excellent performances in recent weeks, most notably changing the game last week against Fulham, after coming off the bench to score Spurs’ first goal and then setting up Roman Pavlyuchenko for the team’s second goal. Bentley’s performance in that game earned him a start against Portsmouth at the weekend and the winger finally seems to be getting into Harry Redknapp’s good books.

So does Bentley has a future at White Hart Lane? When Lennon returns from injury, Bentley will go back to being a backup and be reduced to substituted appearances. But that does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. Whereas Lennon offers pure pace down the right hand side, Bentley offers something different: his delivery of the ball is better and he can provide pinpoint crosses for the likes of Crouch to get on the end of, as well as providing the odd screamer from 25 yards out. Therefore, Bentley is an excellent alternative to Lennon when he is not playing well or his pace is not working against the opposition.

If Bentley is content with being a back up again next season, he could be a valuable asset to the team. Spurs will likely play in Europe next year, whether that be the Champions League or the Europa League. That means more games and the need for a bigger squad, which means Bentley will have more chances to play when Lennon is rested and it allows Spurs to switch styles mid-game between the pace of Lennon and the precision and guile of Bentley.

If we look at why Bentley could be leaving Tottenham, there’s the Redknapp factor. ‘Arry isn’t exactly Bentley’s biggest fan and has kept the former England international is his doghouse for most of his spell in charge at Spurs. That means Harry may be keen to cash in on Bentley in the summer while he has some value and the club can recoup the majority of the £15 million they paid for him in 2008. If a team like Sunderland could offer around £12 million, it might tempt Spurs to sell Bentley and use one of their younger players like Danny Rose as a backup to Lennon. Also, Spurs have quality down the left side, with the likes of Modric, Bale and Krancjar, so if Lennon is unable to break down the opposition then Spurs could just explore other options, meaning someone like Bentley would be expendable.

I like Bentley as a player and feel he does offer something different to Lennon on the right wing, but his future at Spurs is definitely unclear. What do you think – will Bentley still be at Tottenham next season or should he be sold?

Follow Tom Jinks on Twitter at