19 January ~ Maybe Darren Bent did move for the money. Maybe being Sunderland's highest earner wasn't enough any more. Lest we forget, bigger and better strikers than Bent have kicked up a fuss and handed in transfer requests this season in order to bleed more money from their employers.
Although he won't publicly say so (or tweet in his case), Bent is entitled to defend himself against those who have claimed he is a mercenary who only joined Aston Villa for a bumper wage increase. And let's face it, even if he did join Villa for an extra zero on the end of his bank balance, he isn't the first and he certainly won't be the last.
Steve Bruce said he felts "let down" by Bent, but he knows a thing or two about going where the grass in greener. His first job as a manager was with Sheffield United, where he stayed for a grand total of one season before quitting due to a "lack of transfer funds". He lasted a similar amount of time at Huddersfield who accused him of "having an ego to feed".
Bruce's first stint at Wigan looked promising but he duly quit after just two months in charge to join Crystal Palace, where he stayed for a matter of months before walking out again to join Birmingham City.
At Birmingham, Bruce finally showed some loyalty – mainly due to the club's success – and got them promoted to the Premier League before staving off relegation the following campaign. But it wasn't long before his feet were twitching again and when Newcastle (his hometown club) came calling, it looked like Bruce would be off again. Birmingham owner David Sullivan eventually "priced him out of a move" but Bruce's desire was clear.
Bruce eventually left the Blues due to Carson Yeung taking over the club, and he joined Wigan for a second time. Naturally once Sunderland offered him the chance to ply his trade further up the league, Bruce upped and left. The fact that Bruce is a Geordie obviously didn't influence his decision when Sunderland presented him with a bigger and better contract.
Now obviously Bent has joined an out-of-form team in Villa, but he hasn't walked out on a club in the manner that Bruce has so many times before. Sunderland will receive up to £24 million for the striker, a profit of £14m on what they bought him for. Just don't show Bruce where the money is, or Sunderland may have seen the last of him too. James Dielhenn