Darren Bent's at Bodymoor. Darren Bent wants more wages. Darren Bent's contract is for four and a half years. Aston Villa paid £24m for Darren Bent. Darren Bent deal is off due to wages. Is it just my mind that is spinning? The talk of Twitter is enough to make any sane person want to go lie down for a bit.
What we know right now is that this is certainly real. We won't be waking up in the morning to find that we were all having some sort of crazy collective dream. What we don't know is whether Darren Bent will actually put pen to paper with Aston Villa, although most seem confident that the player will don claret and blue. The Telegraph reported that Sunderland have accepted a bid for £24m, which, even if you didn't think £18m was crazy, you have to think £24m is a bit much. Then again, the Villa have money left over from the sale for James Milner, so it's there to spend.
It's not so much that Darren Bent is a fantastic player, although Villa could certainly use his eleven goals, as that's half our season total. With Ashely Young, Stewart Downing, and Marc Albrighton, there are plenty to provide service to a goal-poacher. No, it's more that Aston Villa are showing they have the means to open the coffers, even if Martin O'Neill was no longer going to be handed a blank check.
Is the Bent offer a sign of desperation? Undoubtedly. But it's also a signal that the club are not ready to admit defeat. More than that, though, I think it's a sign that Lerner has faith in Gerard Houllier and his style of management. While Houllier is frustrating at times (Stewart Downing in the center comes to mind) he's determined to implement a new system of play at Villa Park. Relaxing the checkbook before summer, for both Bent and Jean Makoun, will allow Houllier to show whether he can really create his own team from the ashes of the one left by O'Neill.