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Darren Bent set to stay at Aston Villa?

Much of Aston Villa's transfer strategy seems to revolve around the destination (or lack thereof) of Darren Bent, so those that hope to see the striker moved along to greener pastures will no doubt be disheartened by rumblings that he is likely to remain at Villa until the end of the season.

Alex Livesey

Though there's been no official confirmation of the sort, the generally held belief at this point is that any remaining activity in this transfer window for Aston Villa is contingent upon whether or not a taker is found for out-of-favor striker Darren Bent. The England floundering international first attracted attention from Queens Park Rangers and Fulham, but Villa's reported hesitance to bolster perceived relegation rivals led to said rumors being quashed in short order. As of late it has emerged that Stoke City has an interest in him, and it's east to see why; Bent's skillset is tailor-made for the Potters' approach, and it isn't hard to see him thriving in Tony Pulis' system. With Villa rumored to be on the receiving end of any number of decent Stoke players as well as a fair amount of cash, it's a classic win-win situation.

Unless of course Sky Sports Midlands reporter Pete Colley is to be believed. In addition to having a very clear affinity for exclamation marks, Colley seems to be of the opinion (ostensibly informed by sources) that Darren Bent will remain at Villa Park through the rest of the season. The tweet in question doesn't really add anything to the above, but it's quoted here for posterity's sake:

Now, whether Pete Colley is a source to be trusted is another matter entirely. And while I am somewhat inclined to believe that he's correct, I can't help but question the logic from both sides if that ends up being the case. Darren Bent is not going to play very often under Paul Lambert, and that writing had been on the wall since August at the very least. He's a horrible fit for Lambert's system, he's clearly unhappy, and Stoke would be a wonderful destination. It's likely that he's being shopped openly by Villa, and though I don't know much about Stoke's finances it seems likely that there's a deal to be had.

In any case, it's still early in the day. Deals are done, and then they're off, and then a guy is at a training ground taking a medical. I'm still about 60/40 that Bent will end up with Stoke before the day is out. Those aren't great odds, but they're as good as you're likely to find during this window.