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.

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor