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Darren Bent's pedigree makes him a great signing

Aston Villa may be paying a lot for the services of Darren Bent, but they are getting a striker who has proven his pedigree in the Premier League

"My wife could have scored that," Harry Redknapp famously claimed after Darren Bent had missed an open goal, costing his Tottenham Hotspur side a victory against Portsmouth.

"He did not just have a bit to aim at, he had the whole goal to aim at. What can you do?"

That was two years ago yesterday and since then, Bent has gone someway to making the Tottenham manager eat his words, with 32 goals in a season-and-a-half at Sunderland.

However, the 24 million (Dh139.2m) that Aston Villa have just splashed out to sign Bent from the Stadium of Light - taking his total career transfer fees over 50m - has raised a few eyebrows.

In an era when most teams seem to be tightening their belts financially, 24m appears a lot to spend on a man who did not cut it at Spurs, his most high-profile club.

Look beyond the money, though, and there is solid evidence that Villa are buying one of the Premier League's most effective goal scorers.

For a club surprised to find themselves teetering above the relegation zone (only goals scored is keeping them out of the bottom three) with 16 games to go, Bent's arrival could be the difference between safety and failure.

Bent scored almost a goal every two league games (31 in 68) for Charlton Athletic, his second club.

His record at Spurs was 18 from 60 games, many of those substitute appearances, before his 16.5m move to Sunderland in 2009.

And since the switch Bent has been prolific.

Only Chelsea's Didier Drogba and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney have scored more Premier League goals than Bent since he joined Charlton Athletic from Ipswich Town for the 2005/06 season, and they have had the advantage of playing for sides who have been battling at the top of the table.

That Bent has scored most of his goals while playing for Charlton and Sunderland - two clubs that are far from Premier League heavyweights (Charlton are now in League One) - makes the feat even more impressive.

In short, Villa are paying a premium, but Bent is worth his weight in goals.

twoods@thenational.ae

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