Signing Darren Bent could improve the majority of Premiership clubs.
This is not a misprint, typo, or sign that I need to be locked up in a mental institute. But before I go on, I should declare a vested interest as a lifelong fan of Ipswich Town, where Bent first rose to prominence.
That said, I sincerely believe that the much-maligned Tottenham striker would be a huge hit at the likes of Everton, Newcastle, West Ham, and countless others.
True, his confidence is currently at rock-bottom and will not be helped by reading today’s back pages after his horror miss denied Spurs a precious three points over Portsmouth. Harry Redknapp’s declaration that even his wife could have scored the simple header, not to mention his raging expletives in the immediate aftermath of the miss, could spell the end of Bent’s short-lived career at White Hart Lane.
Like with many goalkeepers, a striker needs to have confidence in abundance. Michael Owen—especially this season—has missed countless good chances but he is always in the right position waiting for the next opening. Bent, rightly or wrongly, has never felt loved at Tottenham and his fragile confidence is now there for all to see.
He spent pretty much all of the last campaign warming the bench while Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane lit up the Premier League. When the pair were both sold, in addition to the prior departure of Jermain Defoe, the former Suffolk man must have thought his time was now.
Then Juande Ramos and Gus Poyet told the world that Bent and new signing Roman Pavlyuchenko could not play together, despite both offering different attributes. It has since got worse for Bent with new boss Redknapp quickly bringing Defoe back in and the likes of Adriano and Craig Bellamy sought after, despite Tottenham’s obvious deficiencies elsewhere on the park.
Bent is, and has always been, a sideshow figure in North London. The fans have never warmed to him and apparently nor has his two managers.
I personally wonder why this is. He was always going to play second fiddle to Berbatov and Keane and no one can argue with that. But once they departed, and Bent was given an extended run in the team, the goals started to flow and at one stage he headed the Premiership’s top scorer charts with 12 goals currently to his name.
And this wasn’t by accident. For Charlton, he scored an amazing 32 goals in 68 games and was the highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League in the 2005-06 season.
While for Ipswich, the love felt for the local lad at Portman Road was completely poles apart from the current emotions shown by the Tottenham faithful. Bent was one of our own so he was always on to a winner. And with confidence in his own performance matched by the terraces, he scored 49 goals in 121 games.
Those halcyon days must today seem like a lifetime ago for Bent, culminating in yesterday's horror miss in front of the SKY cameras. There comes a time for many players when they realise they have to leave or risk their career going nowhere.
That time has come for Darren Bent if he wants to have any chance of restoring his reputation and maybe even staking another claim for a place in Fabio Capello’s England squad.
I maintain that with an extended run in many Premier League teams, and with the right backing from a different manager and new fans, the boy will once again come good.