Darren Bent has made it clear that he will not be returning to recently-relegated Fulham next year and will instead be once again on the Aston Villa wage bill. Bent, who makes £60,000 per week, was having his wages fully covered by the Cottagers, and yet was used infrequently by Felix Magath towards the end of the season. His 30 appearances are misleading given that he was used mostly as a sub. In that limited time he managed to find the back of the net only six times.
And now he is Villa's problem again. I'll always have a little soft spot in my heart for Bent, as he almost single-handedly saved the club from relegation in the 2010-11 season after he arrived as Villa's most expensive transfer ever. Since then, he has been largely ineffective. In recent years there has been a bit of a chicken and egg debate about Bent, with most of the world saying that he has simply lost his finishing touch and should get less playing time and Bent yelling that his ineffectiveness is a result of decreased playing time.
Regardless of the cause, Aston Villa will have to find a way to make something of Bent over the summer. It's been rumoured in plenty of places that Crystal Palace are interested in bringing him in. They were last summer, too, but Bent said that he didn't want to be a part of a relegation fight so he chose Fulham instead. Good choice, Darren!
If he's not sold, Bent could come play for Villa. The question becomes twofold though: would Paul Lambert allow that and would Bent be an improvement over any of the team's current options? In certain situations, when Villa need a target man, Bent could make sense. But the best option at this point is to see if someone can be convinced to buy him and take his absurd wages away.