English Premiership side Sunderland’s supporters have been taken by surprise today with a shock transfer request from super striker Darren Bent.

The 26 year old England player was seen by many to be manager Steve Bruce’s first name on the team sheet every weekend.

Now Bent wants out, and Aston Villa appear to be ready to table a £18 million bid for the striker.

The knock on effects of this potential move are plentiful, and one of those would be a possible increase in playing time for tricky Irish midfield player Andy Reid. Reid is just back from a loan spell at Sheffield United, where he scored a couple of crucial goals. He is fit, and knocking on the door to get into the team. Some media entities are speculating that Reid not being in the team is part of the reason Bent wants out, the striker being unhappy that his fruitious supply line of last season (Reid contributed a large percentage of the assists for Bent’s goals) has been cut off.

Whether Bent moves on now or not, Bruce will find it hard to resist giving the Irish man a good run in the side, to see if his superb passing ability can add something to Sunderland in the attacking half of the field.

As for Bent himself, this is just a case of one more greedy English soccer player, who does not understand the concept of a contractual agreement. Bent signed a four year deal in 2009 and is paid very handsomely by his club to play a game. He is also completely idolized by the adoring Sunderland fans, although not for long perhaps in the light of these revelations.

Perhaps someone needs to sit Bent down and explain the idea behind the Premiership table to him. Sunderland, sitting nicely in sixth place, on the cusp of European competition, are enjoying a fantastic season under a progressive manager in front of 45,000 + every weekend. Aston Villa are fourth from bottom of the table, twelve points behind Sunderland, and most would consider them a club in turmoil.

Having been to both the Birmingham and Sunderland areas, I can confirm Bent is not gaining anything in terms of standard of living by moving down South. Sunderland is a proud, friendly and welcoming City. Birmingham? With all due respect, let’s just say it could do with a bit of a facelift.

With Bent's request now out in the open, the pieces will move around the board for a day or a week or two, and fall into place. With more close to £20 million in the coffers and some interesting options available to Bruce, things don't look too bad for Sunderland.

For Bent, a curious move, a questionable future on a questionable team beckons.



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