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Want Darren Bent? You're gonna have to pay, says Villa

Aston Villa are willing to let Darren Bent go for less than half what they paid for him two and a half years ago. But the real sticking point will be Bent's high wages.

Clive Mason

Aston Villa already made it clear that Darren Bent is permitted to leave for a new club this summer. But he's not going to be given away free to a good home. According to The Telegraph, Villa want at least £8m for the striker.

Let's remember that, in a moment of desperation, staring down a black hole and seeing nothing but the onrushing light of relegation at the end of the tunnel, Villa paid £18 million to snag Bent from Sunderland back in January 2011. In his first year in claret and blue, he scored nine goals in sixteen starts, keeping the team from falling into the Championship.

But the next season, Bent scored the same number of goals from 22 league appearances, and enthusiasm started to wane (particularly when he elected to go out shopping rather than support his side). Enter Christian Benteke -- younger, more exciting, and certainly more productive. The Belgian's arrival reduced Bent to eight starts and eight substitute appearances, from which he scored three goals.

From those numbers, it's no wonder the Villa don't think they can get anywhere near the price they paid for Bent two and a half years ago. Although the club have reduced his asking price, it seems Bent's suitors, particularly Newcastle, are more concerned about his wages. Bent makes over £3m per year, a definite thorn in most clubs' sides.