Football FanCast columnist Dean Brown wonders what the future holds for David Bentley.
Just over a year ago David Bentley looked like a player ready for great things. Having moved from Blackburn to Tottenham for £15m he looked confident of sparking a European charge for Spurs and locking David Beckham out of the England team once and for all. How times change. After a disastrous season with the North London club, one in which he was dropped by successive managers, he risks becoming a ‘what ever happened to' footballer.
Everyone knows the problems Bentley had last season. Some were the fault of the hapless Juande Ramos, but Bentley did himself no favours by putting in a series of sulky, ineffectual performances when playing out of position. He impressed new manager Harry Redknapp even less, so much so that Redknapp was quoted as saying:
‘He's a good lad and a good player but I've changed how we play and I've had results so nobody can complain. David is going to look and think, I'm not in the team, even when Aaron Lennon's not fit, and maybe it's time I moved on".
But Bentley remains at Spurs with the season fast approaching and there looks little chance that he is going to move on any time soon. The player's destination of choice is reportedly Aston Villa, to join the crop of English players Martin O'Neill is cultivating, but his high price tag turned Villa off, and, with Young, Milner, Delph and Downing all at the club, Bentley is hardly the player they most need. Will any other clubs could be interested? At £15m or close, unlikely.
However, if Spurs lower their demands there are a number of clubs Bentley could do a great job for. Fulham spring to mind. Roy Hodgson's side play attractive eye-catching football and a fit motivated Bentley on the right would provide the likes of Johnson and Zamora with crosses to attack. Hodgson appears to have a little money to spend having bid unsuccessfully for Peter Crouch and it would mean that Bentley wouldn't have to move away from London. But, obviously, this is pure wishful thinking as Fulham have shown absolutely no interest in the player this summer whatsoever.
If Redknapp has no plans for Bentley and cannot find a club to pay the desired amount he could think about sending him out on loan for a year for a couple of million. But if it comes down to this then it does beg the question of why not keep the player? After all he is still prodigiously skilful and could provide fierce competition for Lennon on the right and Keane in the hole. Indeed, in Spurs most recent pre-season match, Bentley was given a rare run out in pre-season against Olympiakos and, in something of a U-turn, Redknapp said after the match:
‘David is a great crosser and can make goals for Crouchy with that delivery. He did it for Roque Santa Cruz so I'm sure he can do it for Peter Crouch.'
So the future for Bentley is unclear but one thing is for certain though, another season on the bench for whoever is the worst possible outcome for the player.