Darren Bent hands in transfer request

Aston Villa will have to come up with in excess of £20m to persuade Sunderland to part company with striker Darren Bent.

The 26-year-old England international stunned Wearside today when it emerged that he had submitted a written transfer request after yesterday's 1-1 derby draw with Newcastle.

Sunderland confirmed the move in a brief statement which said: "The club can confirm that it received a written transfer request from Darren Bent following yesterday's Wear-Tyne derby match."

However, Press Association Sport understands that the Black Cats have not yet accepted Bent's request, nor a bid of £18million from Aston Villa which reportedly could rise to as much as £24million.

Furthermore, it is understood that they would not even consider doing business for a man who cost them an initial £10million in August 2009 unless any offer significantly exceeded the £20million mark.

Manager Steve Bruce had predicted that the January transfer window would pass without major incident on Wearside, with some of the players who have spent the first half of the season out on loan possibly leaving for good while he attempted to strengthen his hand with a couple of loan signings.

He has played down speculation linking him with the likes of Adam Johnson, Charles N'Zogbia and Stewart Downing, all players in whom he has more than a passing interest - and it is understood that the Villa winger has not been offered to him as part of the bid currently on the table - while he has dismissed reports he will try to sign Michael Owen from Manchester United.

However, Bruce has been rocked by Bent's decision to submit a transfer request, and not for the first time.

It is believed the former Ipswich, Charlton and Tottenham striker asked for a move during the summer, but the club managed to persuade him to stay and also keep the news under wraps.

The Black Cats were this afternoon considering their options as they weighed up whether to cash in on last season's leading scorer, or to hold him to the remaining two years of his contract.

But what is certain is that, if they do decide to let him leave, they will not accept anything less than their valuation of him.

Bent scored 25 goals during his first season in the north-east and was widely considered unfortunate not to have made the England squad for last summer's World Cup finals in South Africa.

He has 11 to date for the current season, but has looked short of his best form in recent months and has scored only one Barclays Premier League goal in eight appearances since the end of November.

Bent made little impression during yesterday's 1-1 draw with Newcastle as he was effectively marked by Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson and it was strike partner Asamoah Gyan, who replaced him as the club's record signing when he made his £13million-plus switch to Wearside in August last year, who snatched a draw with a fortuitous equaliser.

Should owner Ellis Short and chairman Niall Quinn decide to take the money, they would face a race against the clock to replace Bent with less than a fortnight of the transfer window remaining.

The Black Cats have made an offer for Paris St Germain midfielder Stephane Sessegnon after failing in a loan bid, and have looked into a temporary deal for Inter Milan's Sulley Muntari.

However, they would have to step up their recruitment drive significantly in the wake of Bent's departure if they are to maintain their current top-six standing and hopes of a first ever qualification for Europe via the league.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'