Aston Villa and England striker Darren Bent experienced a nightmare campaign last season.
The striker started just seven Premier League games last season, as Villa boss Paul Lambert froze Bent out in favour of explosive young Belgium international Christian Benteke.
Lambert’s decision now seems justified considering that Benteke went on to score 19 Premier League goals and help Villa to survive the drop.
Benteke’s form kept Bent in the shadows for much of the season.
The striker either found himself warming the bench, or even worse not even in the Villa squad at one point. Lambert claimed he had no problem with Bent, but still decided to leave him out.
I just wonder what Bent and Benteke could have done as a partnership, even though I know the idea of two strikers is now outdated, it seemed like it could have been a good combination.
Obviously, I did not see every Villa game last season, but whenever I saw Bent appear for the Villans, he seemed like a man that was lacking confidence, a trait that Bent never displayed at previous clubs.
Maybe being frozen out of the team by Lambert dented his confidence and strikers are usually all about confidence.
The 29-year-old may not be wanted at Villa Park, but it seems he is wanted elsewhere. According to the Daily Mail, Fulham and Newcastle are set to do battle over the England international. If the Mail’s believed value of £5million is true then whoever gets Bent will have a bargain.
Darren Bent will never win any awards for his technical ability. However, he is a proven Premier League goalscorer. Whichever club he has been at he has scored goals and that is why there is always a team looking to sign him.
I do not think there is another Premier League proven goal scorer out there on the market for £5million. If there were, he would not be on the market for long. Whoever buys Bent, buys goals, even if he does not do much else.
Fulham could be the ideal destination for Bent. The Cottagers are in need of a prolific goal scorer for a while now. Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov fired home an impressive 15 Premier League goals in his first season at Craven Cottage.
However, he is in need of assistance. Sometimes the Bulgarian looks to win the game on his own. If he is playing as the lone striker, it means that Fulham do not have a focal point to their attack, because the Bulgarian likes to wander around the pitch looking for the ball.
Bent could be the answer to their problems. Bent could play as the lone striker, an ever-present force in the opposition penalty area, while Berbatov could play behind him. A match made in heaven for any team, a poacher, and a mercurial number ten who can produce magic behind the poacher.
Newcastle could also do with the talents of Bent in their attack. The Magpies were not exactly prolific last season, especially after Demba Ba left for Chelsea in January. Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is believed to be considering Bent as a potential solution to their problems.
Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse’s future is in doubt on Tyneside, after he objected to wearing a Newcastle shirt, because the club is now sponsored by a controversial loan company. The striker even refused to go on the clubs pre-season training camp to Portugal.
It does not look like this situation is going to end well for the Magpies, as this looks like it will end in only one outcome, Cisse being sold this summer. Pardew was already looking for strikers prior to the Cisse situation, so looks like he may need to sign multiple strikers this summer.
One barrier to Newcastle signing Darren Bent is the fact that he is not French. However, the Magpies should put that issue to one side and attempt to sign the former-Sunderland star anyway.
If as expected Darren Bent moves on this summer, I think we will see a far different player in the new season. Bent has been kicking his heel on the Villa bench for much of the season. I can see the striker returning with renewed hunger and thirst for goals.
Darren Bent still has a lot to give in the Premier League, even if Aston Villa and boss Paul Lambert do not see it. Bent will come back next season and he will do what he has done throughout his career, score goals.
Where will Darren Bent be playing next season?