Alan Pardew, the Charlton Athletic manager, last night denied Darren Bent would be leaving the club during the transfer window, insisting that the England striker would be staying "until the end of the year".
Pardew said on Friday that he might have to sell Bent as his knee injury meant Charlton's relegation battle might be better served by utilising Bent's value in the market.
It has been claimed that Bent was offered to Chelsea for £18m and that Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United were pursuing the striker.
Pardew dismissed reports that Bent was offered to anyone, primarily because the striker is making a good recovery and should be back in action before the end of the month.
"I merely said if his injury is not clearing up as well as we project it may be a problem for me keeping him, because I want to keep this club in the division," said Pardew. "The good news is his injury seems to be clearing up faster than we thought. He had a really good response the last couple of days and we are a lot more optimistic he will return in three or four weeks rather than six or seven. It looks like that situation is clearing up and Darren will stay to the end of the year."
Whether Bent will stay at The Valley if Charlton are relegated is debatable but Pardew says he wants to rebuild the team around him, though he admits his funds are limited. "I will have to be clever, maybe look a little left-field to improve the team," the manager said.
"We haven't got the funds that West Ham in particular have got, and maybe Wigan and Middlesbrough. I need anyone who will help the players here improve their confidence and ability. You can grow off certain players, that is the sort we need to give everyone a lift."Reuse content