- Premier League
Bent expects January exit as Redknapp shows interest
Darren Bent will not hand in a transfer request at Aston Villa, but accepts he will be forced out of the club in the January transfer window, according to ESPN sources close to the striker.
Bent is set to be shipped out of Villa Park during the winter transfer window by manager Paul Lambert as a result of the mystifying break down in relations between the pair, paving the way for the England international making a potential move to Queens Park Rangers.
Aston Villa will be prepared to accept around half of the £24 million record transfer fee they paid Sunderland for the England international and new QPR manager Harry Redknapp is considering a reunion despite his own fall-out with Bent when the pair were together at Spurs.
Stoke City and Fulham have asked to be kept informed of Villa's intentions, but they appear clearer now that sources close to Bent claim the 28-year-old has been fit for the last three weeks, despite his manager claiming he was unavailable because of an ankle injury.
A source close to Bent said: "He won't ask for a transfer, but he has not been given any explanation for what has happened. He is frustrated and angry with the situation. He was left out of the squad for games with Arsenal and Reading, but he was fit to play against Manchester United and Manchester City before those matches."
Bent has been left out for the last four games and against Reading and Arsenal and for the last two matches lost his place in the 18-man squad to Jordan Bowery, a £600,000 signing from Chesterfield in August, amid claims from Lambert that all is "fine" with Bent.
"Darren is confused at what has been going on. He is as confused as everyone else. He does not feel he has a future at Villa beyond January. He will continue to be professional and train hard and wait to see what Villa do in the New Year."
Redknapp had a well-publicised dispute with Bent when he claimed his wife Sandra would have scored one of the chances the forward wasted in a game against Portsmouth, but his need is greater than most with key forwards Andrew Johnson and Bobby Zamora out of action long-term.
He is willing to bury the hatchet because of the need for goals at Loftus Road and Bent has 102 Premier League goals to his name at a ratio of almost one every two games.
"I like Darren. I've got no problems with Darren Bent," the QPR boss said. "I just made a comment that maybe I shouldn't, when I said I think my missus would have scored when he missed a header that day. I can laugh at myself, I don't mind.
"It was obviously difficult, he didn't like it and that was sort of it really, and within no time he decided that he didn't want to stay.
"But I think he's a good player. I'd like to have Darren Bent available, believe you me. He can score goals. I've got no problem with Darren as a boy or as a player. I think he's a good player."
Bent has over two years left on his £65,000-a-week contract, but there is no interest from Liverpool as he does not fit the profile for Anfield manager Brendan Rodgers. In an ironic twist, Bent will most likely be left out again for Saturday's trip to Loftus Road and Redknapp's first home game in charge since replacing Mark Hughes.
It has been reported by the Daily Mail that Villa are keen to offload Bent in order to stop a seven-figure payment being made to Sunderland when the striker reaches 50 appearances.
Bent moved to Villa for an initial fee of £18 million in January 2011, with further instalments factored in after significant milestones are reached. Bent has made 47 appearances for the Midlands club, leading to a stand-off.