The incredible fall from grace of Darren Bent over the past few seasons has been one for the record books. Though perpetually underrated, Bent had proven himself to be one of the most prolific strikers in the Premier League with the English striker racking up an incredible goal scoring record for himself.
After impressing in the Championship with Ipswich, Darren Bent kicked off his Premier League campaign with Charlton where he scored at a rate of just under a goal every two games. This form prompted a move to Tottenham where, though not smashing any records, Bent proved that he was more than competent in front of goal. He was not always favoured at Spurs and eventually moved to Sunderland where he tore the league apart in his first season, banging in an incredible 24 goals. He left Sunderland half way through the next season to join Aston Villa where he initially continued his fine form, before a dip in form saw him be unceremoniously discarded by those in power and loaned out to Fulham.
Bent hasn’t done himself any favours over the last season though, with the former England international striker spurning a host of chances for Fulham and failing to find any inkling of form. There were some who believed that leaving Aston Villa would not only revive his stalled career but put him in with a shout of travelling to Brazil for the World Cup with the England squad. His temporary move might not have had the desired result but it is still imperative that Bent leaves Aston Villa on a permanent basis at the end of the season.
There are a number of options for Bent as well. The first comes in the form of former club Ipswich who have been rumoured to be interested in re-signing their golden boy. This would mean that Bent would have to ply his trade in the Championship though and I’m not entirely sure that it would be the right move for him. He may be ageing and struggling to find form but Bent still has more than enough quality to compete in the Premier League.
With that in mind, a move to another former club might do the trick. This time the club in question is Sunderland (provided of course that they should beat the drop). Bent’s departure from Sunderland the first time around came as a surprise to many and given Sunderland’s current longing for an out and out striker, Bent would surely be welcomed back with open arms despite his apparent betrayal. The Black Caps are losing Fabio Borini who returns to Liverpool on loan at the end of the season and, apart from the ever-improving Connor Wickham, would only have injury-prone Steven Fletcher to call upon. Having the confidence brought about by a supportive fan-base and playing in a system that suits his style would surely see Bent turn back the years to the days of his former glory.
Aside from Sunderland, there are a number of other Premier Clubs that may be interested in signing Darren Bent. Admittedy, these suitors would more than likely find themselves in the bottom half of the table and even then Bent may find himself on the fringes as he currently does at relegation threatened Fulham. If he does stay in the Premier League, it would be important for the 30 year old striker to be given assurances as to his role within the club. Sitting on the bench is not where he wants to be.
A move to any of the other European leagues doesn’t appear to be a viable option for Bent but one to the ever growing MLS in America might just spark his fancy. The sail across the ocean is deemed by many to be the final nail in the coffin of an international career of a footballer. For Darren Bent thouugh, international football appears to be a thing of the past having not represented the Three Lions since 2011 so a move to one of the money rich clubs may be on the cards. With fellow Englishman Jermain Defoe having already made the move and others like Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole rumoured to be considering the same, Bent could form part of a strong contingent of English players gracing the MLS next season.
Ultimately, the key for Darren Bent is to leave Aston Villa permanently and find a club where consistent game time and a degree of trust is afforded to him. He’s by no means the player he once was but if he can make the right move the footballing world might just be entertained by one final goal scoring swansong.