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What Does the Future Hold for Darren Bent?

The Boot Room

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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.

The Boot Room is a football analysis website, bringing original and creative content to the fans of the English Football League.

Aston Villa

Aston Villa’s play-off final is vital regarding the future of Jack Grealish

The 22-year-old has matured significantly under Steve Bruce this season.

Josh Kerr

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Photo: Getty Images

Aston Villa’s day of destiny awaits, and the future of Jack Grealish could also hang on this crucial Wembley fixture.

The 22-year-old has been in wonderful form for The Villans this season, and he showcased his talent in the play-off semi-final over two legs.

Villa edged past Middlesbrough 1-0, with Grealish playing a starring role over and club’s supporters will be desperate to keep their star man.

However, the future of the Solihull born youngster could hinge on whether Steve Bruce’s side gain promotion to the Premier League with a number of clubs set to swoop if Villa don’t reach the top-flight.

According to the Birmingham Mail, Grealish was recently offered a big money move to Leicester but opted to instead stay at Villa Park.

However, if Aston Villa were to fall at the final hurdle at Wembley then it may be difficult for Grealish to focus on another year in the Championship especially if the Premier League comes knocking once again.

The attacking midfielder has blossomed under Bruce this season and has been central to the club’s promotion hopes.

He has really matured over the year and his performances on the pitch have continued to impress those who once doubted whether he would fulfill his potential.

According to reports from the Mirror, Villa will need to cut costs if they fail in the play-offs and Grealish would be one of the club’s more saleable assets.

Grealish would be a huge loss to Villa, but the Midlands side will be full of confidence going into one of football’s richest fixtures.

They will know full well that a win could be the factor that ensures the club are able to withstand elusive offers for some of their top players.

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Aston Villa’s James Chester comes back to haunt former manager Tony Pulis

The Welsh defender came back to bit his old boss in the play-off semi clash.

Max Cohen

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James Chester
Photo: Getty Images

Tony Pulis’ Middlesbrough side were expertly stifled by Aston Villa in their play-off semifinal, as the Villans held Boro to 180 minutes of scoreless football.

Villa centre-half James Chester was a constant rock at the back, revealing to Pulis that his former boss was wrong to sell him when the two were together at West Bromwich Albion.

Chester signed for the Baggies from Hull City in the summer of 2015, after five impressive seasons for the Tigers. The fee was reported to be in the region of £8 million and many expected the Welsh international to excel in the back four under Pulis.

Yet, frustratingly for the centre-back, Chester made only 13 league appearances for the Baggies in the 2015/16 campaign. The Welshman started just nine Premier League matches all season, as Pulis clearly did not consider him as first-choice at the Hawthorns.

After just one year at West Brom, Chester was sold to Championship side Aston Villa in 2016.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

In the following two seasons at Villa Park, the centre-back has enjoyed tremendous success, making over 75 appearances and establishing himself as an indispensable presence at the back.

This season, Chester has struck up a formidable partnership with former Chelsea captain John Terry.

The airtight defensive combination was on full display during the two matches against Middlesbrough, as Chester and Terry stifled the high-octane Boro attack.

Featuring the likes of Britt Assambalonga, Adama Traore, Stewart Downing, Patrick Bamford, and Rudy Gestede, the Teesiders’ star-studded frontline was held scoreless due to Villa’s superb defense- led by James Chester.

As Tony Pulis watched his side run out of ideas and fall to a 1-0 aggregate defeat, he will surely be ruing his 2016 mistake.

Allowing James Chester to be sold to Aston Villa truly came back to haunt the Boro boss, as the Welsh international delivered Pulis a dramatic reminder of his abilities and cost the Teesiders a spot at Wembley.

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Aston Villa

Aston Villa should at least take a look at Carles Gil this summer

The Spaniard spent the season out on loan from Aston Villa at Deportivo La Coruna.

Mathew Coull

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It looks as though Carles Gil will be leaving Aston Villa this summer. The Birmingham Mail reported this week that the Spaniard has no future at Villa Park, with the club looking to offload him in the summer.

An apparent obligation on the part of his current loan club Deportivo La Coruna to bring him in permanently has now been denied in the Spanish press. Marca now claims the permanent deal is void, after Depor’s relegation from La Liga.

It comes after a difficult season for Gil, in which he suffered a hernia problem and was eventually frozen out by new manager Clarence Seedorf.

But ask any Aston Villa fan and they will tell you that Gil is immensely talented. In fact, many would like to see him get another chance in England.

So should he?

Aston Villa paid Valencia a fee of around £3.2 million for the player, according to BBC Sport. It came after two excellent seasons out on loan at fellow Spanish club Elche.

Therefore, retrieving such a fee for the player would surely not be a difficult task for the club. But he clearly still has something to offer, especially if Villa remain in the Championship.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Gil was one of only a few players to come away from Aston Villa’s relegation campaign with any semblance of dignity and in his first half season at the club looked a real talent.

At just 25-years-old there is also still plenty of scope for him to improve. If Villa stay down again this season then major investment in recruitment is bound to diminish. So having a player with the talent of Gil still around at the club could be like a new signing for Villa.

It certainly seems as though Tony Xia and Steve Bruce want to banish any memory of that awful Aston Villa side that was relegated to the Championship. However, Gil might be one of the very few from that squad with redeemable qualities.

At the very least, it is worth keeping him through pre-season and seeing what he can do. If Bruce does not like what he sees, he can give Gil the boot before the transfer window shuts.

But if he does? Well, Gil could easily resurrect himself a decent career at Villa Park.

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