Manchester City and Charlton to renew Bent hunt

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The Independent Football

Manchester City and Charlton will renew their attempts to sign Marcus Bent in the January transfer window, with the striker anxious to leave Everton after becoming disillusioned with his first-team prospects under the manager David Moyes.

The 27-year-old was an integral part of Everton's surprise fourth-place finish last season and he resisted the chance to join both City and Charlton in the summer because of the prospect of Champions' League football at Goodison Park.

However, the club's subsequent slump has mirrored his own fortunes and, having made only six Premiership starts this season and fallen out of favour with Moyes, Bent is now prepared to join the ninth club of his nomadic professional career.

Bent will cost around £1.5m next month, a healthy profit for Everton on the £450,000 they paid Ipswich for his services in June 2004, although the move could depend on Moyes' success in strengthening his limited attack with a replacement.

Tottenham's Robbie Keane has been a long-time target of the Everton manager but is now back in favour at White Hart Lane and out of Moyes' price range, while Preston's David Nugent and Peter Lovenkrands of Glasgow Rangers have also been linked with Goodison Park.

Moyes, who is also monitoring the Dundee United right-back Mark Wilson, said yesterday: "I don't have to sell before I can buy. We have a little money, and are always trying, but we have to play within our means. But we can't buy much with what we have got - maybe one player."

Everton's forward options could diminish further if Duncan Ferguson retires next month as a result of the back injury that has plagued the 33-year-old for almost two years. "Duncan has felt things are catching up on him, he can't make the impact he wants" Moyes said.

"Three recent games have seen him only train on the Thursday or Friday before. He has trained better this week than for a while but he is an old enough professional to know for himself and we will see how he is over the next week or so."

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