EPL Transfer: If Darren Bent's Worth £24m, Then What Of Ronaldo, Messi & Others

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EPL Transfer: If Darren Bent's Worth £24m, Then What Of Ronaldo, Messi & Others
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Darren Bent's move from Sunderland to Aston Villa completed this week for a initial sum of £18 (raising to a staggering £24 with appearances, goals and caps etc) makes the 26 year old Englishman the most expensive English player in history, when transfers are accumulated.

This may come as a surprise to many, given that one would not say that Bent is a rising star nor an established one. The player whose record he has just eclipsed, is none other than Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand, whose cumulative transfers totaled £48m.

This unassuming striker has never taken the headlines, never taken the Premier League by storm and has yet to make it into double figures when it comes to international appearances for England.

Born in Tooting, South London, Bent joined Ipswich Town as a youth aged 14 and progressed through their ranks and signed on as a professional with them in 2001.

The South Londoner went on to make 122 appearances for The Tractor Boys, scoring a commendable 47 goals.

In 2005, Charlton Athletic completed a move for Bent for an initial amount of £2.5m, raising to £3m with appearances etc. Once again, the South Londoner, banged in the goals and accolades and records followed. In the 2005-06 season, Bent was the highest scoring English player in the Premier League with 18 goals.

Despite another impressive scoring record, Charlton were relegated in 2007 and Bent was sold to Tottenham Hotspur for £16.5m. His records for Charlton was once again extremely good; he scored 31 goals in 68 appearances for The Addicks.

However, at Spurs Bent seemed to lose his way slightly and was never a regular and by no means a crowd favorite at White Heart Lane. His record at Spurs speaks for itself; with only 18 goals in 60 appearances it is safe to say that Bent was not considered a success.

Again, Bent looked for pastures anew and after an infamous Twitter hiccup, signed for Sunderland for £10m but which would later rise for around £16.5m.

At Sunderland, the Englishman again came into his own and goals flowed. In 58 appearances for Sunderland, Bent scored a phenomenal 32 goals. This strike rate ranked alongside the best strikers in the Premier League. It would not be stretching the truth to suggest that Bent is one of the most prolific English strikers playing in the Premier League today.

Yet, at international level Bent seems to be the forgotten man of English football and he has made this point on more than one occasion. Having only seven caps to his name and the solitary goal, this club goal scoring machine has never gotten to grips with the international game.

Truth be told, he has not really been given a good run in the side to show his worth and he has frequently been overlooked by managers preferring to pick the then 'flavours of the month' strikers.

Bent has become slightly disillusioned with this fact; his club record would suggest that he should be an automatic choice for England but whenever the squad is announced, Bent has more often than not just missed out.

And missed out to fringe players, players with potential, players that are on the verge. But what of proven goal scoring ability, does that not have a place in the England set up?

In this transfer window, Bent has made a surprising move from Sunderland to Aston Villa. No sooner had the news broken that Bent has put in a surprising transfer request, that he was signing on the dotted line for Aston Villa for a staggering £18m, but will eventually be more in the tune of £24m.

To most commentators and pundits, this is a shocking amount of money for a striker, who granted has a more than impressive domestic scoring record, but has certainly not proved himself internationally. If the question was posed to followers of the Premier League, "What price would you pay for Darren Bent?" Arguably most would return with a figure in the region of £10m.

However, football transfers rates as prices of all commodities are set by market forces of supply and demand, coupled with subjective value of what is the perceived value of such a commodity.

Now in a strange state of affairs, Bent's perceived value around the league is actually lower than what Aston Villa have actually paid for his services. It would be doubtful if any other club would have filed a bid of anything more than £10m, such is a believed value.

Surprisingly, once Bent came onto the market, there was not a string of clubs lining up to sign him up. This could be because Villa simply put in a bid so far inflated from what other clubs rated Bent at, that they just thought that they had no desire to pay that much and opted not to bid.

So why no buying frenzy. Simply put, Bent is not in demand despite his scoring record. But for a forward that is not highly in demand but is still able to persuade a club to pay £24m for his services; the question must be posed that if a forward that would be in demand came onto the market, given the amount paid for Bent, what would such a forward go for?

Here are top 5 examples. It must be stressed that these forwards are NOT on the market and this is simply a subjective exercise to determine what their values could be if they were to come up for sale in the this transfer window or the summer.

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