x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Darren Bent shocks Sunderland with transfer request

Darren Bent, the Sunderland striker, has stunned the English Premier League club by handing in a transfer request

Darren Bent, the England striker, wants to leave Sunderland
Darren Bent, the England striker, wants to leave Sunderland

Striker Darren Bent has stunned Sunderland by handing in a transfer request.

The 26-year-old has asked to leave the club he joined for an initial £10 million (Dh58m) during the summer of 2009 amid speculation that Aston Villa have tabled an £18m bid.

Sunderland, who have not confirmed Bent's request, are believed not to have accepted it at this stage.

Bent scored his 11th goal of the season in last weekend's 2-1 FA Cup third-round defeat by Notts County, but has managed just two in his last nine games and drew a blank in yesterday's 1-1 derby draw with Newcastle UNited.

He enjoyed a sensational first season at Sunderland after ending his nightmare at Tottenham, and rewarded manager Steve Bruce with 25 goals.

The former Ipswich Town and Charlton Athletic frontman missed out on a trip to last summer's World Cup in South Africa, the second time he had suffered the same disappointment.

However, he scored his first senior international goal in a 3-1 Euro 2012 qualifier victory in Switzerland in September.

Bruce invested a club-record fee in excess of £13m to recruit Ghana international Asamoah Gyan to play alongside Bent in August last year.

But itt appears he now faces a fight to keep the pair together.