• Premier League

Bent left in limbo by Villa's £8m price tag

ESPN staff
July 3, 2013
Darren Bent started just eight Premier League games for Aston Villa last season © PA Photos

Darren Bent is being forced to train away from the Aston Villa first-team and is worried he is being priced out of a move away from the club, sources close to the striker have told ESPN.

Bent, 29, has been ostracised at Villa Park since return for pre-season training as Villa seek to encourage buyers to meet their £8 million price tag.

The former England international has been informed he will not be considered for selection for any of the club's pre-season friendlies and will not be included in any squads if he remains at Villa beyond the close of the summer transfer window.

Bent has made it clear he would like a fresh start away from Villa Park, but it is understood he feels he is being priced out of a move by the club, who are determined to hold out for the fee they set several weeks ago.

The player feels Villa and boss Paul Lambert should be prepared to be more flexible and realistic over their price tag as they look to shed his £65,000-a-week salary from their wage bill.

Newcastle United and Fulham have both made it clear they would be interested in doing business with Villa for Bent, but both clubs have no intention of paying £8 million for a striker who barely kicked a ball last season.

Bent is training alongside fellow outcasts Stephen Ireland and Alan Hutton, who have also been told they will be allowed to leave the club this summer if buyers can be found.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is the driving force behind their move for Bent, but the arrival of Joe Kinnear as director of football has changed the dynamics at St James' Park.

They value Bent nearer to £5 million and are now expected to concentrate their attentions on the Villa man after losing out to Borussia Dortmund in the battle for St Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The defeated Champions League finalists have agreed a fee of around £13 million for the Gabon international, which the Magpies are unwilling to match.

Fulham manager Martin Jol is also refusing to meet Villa's asking price for Bent and is thought to value the striker nearer to £5 million.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.