Darren Bent, who found himself frozen out of Paul Lambert's Aston Villa and subsequently went on Derby to a loan that we all assumed would end his career here, may be coming back! His contract is out in the summer and given his desire to play regular first-team football, it seemed almost a guarantee that he'd head elsewhere for his next signing. But the arrival of Tim Sherwood has changed that, with Bent saying that he has had discussions with Aston Villa about signing a new deal.
In January 2011, Aston Villa paid somewhere in the region of £20 million for the services of Darren Bent. That made him the club's record signing and he didn't disappoint, scoring nine goals in Villa's last sixteen matches and helping push them to safety. The next year, under Alex McLeish, he netted ten times in all competitions. And then it all fell apart. When Paul Lambert came, Bent struggled to find both playing time and goals. Since the dark days of McLeish, Bent has only appeared for Villa thirty-one times and only scored six goals.
So would a signing make sense? I gave up on Bent ages ago, so my first reaction was a quick "no." But then I remembered that I had thought the same thing about Gabby Agbonlahor and Charles N'Zogbia, and they've resurrected their careers under Tim Sherwood. A deal that's considerably less rich than the one he's on now might actually not be a terrible move for Bent. He's struggled pretty much everywhere except Derby for the last few years, so he can't command too high of a price. But if he can find even a shred of his former scoring form, he could be a useful cheap option for the club.
He's not a player about whom I'd get excited, but if the deal's right there is no reason not to bring him back.