With Benteke Leaving Aston Villa, It’s Time For Lambert to Make Up With Darren Bent

With Aston Villa potentially possessing an array of solid options up-front for the forthcoming season in the shape of a possible big money replacement for last season’s top-scorer Christian Benteke (if and when he leaves the club) and the emerging Andi Weimann, not to mention local lad Gabby Agbonlahor and recent arrival of giant Dane Nicklas Helenius from AaB, it goes without saying that Darren Bent’s mixed time at Villa Park will soon be coming to an end.

But should it?

It’s clear that Bent’s stay has certainly had its ups and downs. After arriving from Sunderland in January 2011 with a huge transfer fee of an initial £18 million, he set about the task at hand of boosting an exciting Villa side, but one reeling from the departure of Martin O’Neill before the season even started and the health problems of Gerard Houllier, up the table and into Europe. A return of 9 goals that season (on top of another 8 for Sunderland) was ultimately not enough as Villa finished 9th. However his ability to crop up with important goals that season and again in the miserable Alex McLeish year where Villa sank to a miserable 16th; when he scored a further 9 in 22 games showed that he was a vital component of an ultimately poor squad.

Alas for Bent, Paul Lambert arrived at Aston Villa with a new mandate from owner Randy Lerner to both curb spending and to slash the average age of the squad. That meant Bent simply didn’t fit; at least not long after he was made club-captain by Lambert initially. This, coupled with the scintillating form of the powerful and mobile Belgian international Benteke in his debut year, left him kicking his heels for large portions of the campaign.

Fast-forward recently and it seems the former Ipswich, Charlton and Spurs striker is now the subject of very strong interest from Newcastle United who desperately need to find a partner up front for Papiss Cisse. A fee of between £5-8 million has been mooted, and the news that he has been effectively cut from pre-season training is a clear sign that pastures new seems the most logical and probably best course of action for the 29-year old marksman.

With the perhaps-not-so crashing revelation that Benteke wants out of Villa Park to secure a place in Belgium’s inevitable World Cup campaign now common knowledge, is there not still a place for Bent?

Bent seems to polarize opinion, but the facts are stark. He scores goals and always has. Something Villa are desperately going to need with a very young squad and as it looks, post-Benteke. Agbonlahor, as experienced as he is has never been a “goal-getter,” cannot be relied upon solely to shoulder the burden whilst Weimann and Helenius are still raw and relatively untested. As admirable and good a job as he is doing by blending together an extremely talented and hungry group of players, including the brilliant and improving Matthew Lowton and Ashley Westwood,  Paul Lambert could do with holding fire and evaluating whether an undoubtedly prolific English goalscorer on the books is going to be an asset to a side who are likely to struggle again at times at the back and ultimately, still finding their feet

11 thoughts on “With Benteke Leaving Aston Villa, It’s Time For Lambert to Make Up With Darren Bent”

  1. Why should Lambert change a whole system that he believes in just to accommodate Darren Bent? If Benteke goes, as is likely, then Lambert needs someone who play at the top of a front 3′, which Bent can’t do, as proven everywhere he has played.

  2. Nick’s got it. Bent doesn’t fit into Lambert’s style of play, and can’t contribute to the team the same way Benteke has. He’s a great goal scorer but that’s all there is to his game — can’t hold up play, can’t pick a clever pass, can’t cross. He’s also on massive wages compared to the rest of Lambert’s young squad.

    I hope Villa can hold on to Benteke for another season, but if not, I’m sure Lambert will put the healthy transfer fee to good use.

  3. I’m not sure your point that Benteke is on his way so he can secure a World Cup starting position with Belgium makes any sense ! Surely Bentekes best move is to stay put to make the team.

    1. Another great season with Villa would probably do enough to cement a place you’re right. I’d be extremely surprised if the prospect of missing out wasn’t a huge factor in his decision though. Thank you for the comment.

  4. Hi guys,

    Thank you for the responses. They are appreciated

    My point was that with the seemingly inevitable departure of Benteke. Who’s going to pick up the slack, or more’s to the point, who’s already proven they can do it season after season more than Bent? Sure, I agree that Lambert’s system is perhaps counter to Bent’s style, but they’ve signed Helenius if a switch is needed. Let’s face it, Bent’s off too. I’m just convinced he could remain and do a job. This isn’t a side that can afford to lose any potential source of goals at the moment without it being very costly.

  5. Simon i think this is an excellent article however i would sell Bent to Newcastle, Fulham or any other teams interested and then with the combined money from Bent and Benteke they should get a 5-10 million striker and make the young, weak back four more experienced

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