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Bentley heading for Villa Park?


ChrisVillan
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If Gareth Barry hadn't replaced his Continental GT with an Aston Martin the last time we gave him a massive pay rise, this article would have begun with a stonking car park gag. But it wasn't to be.

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder David Bentley has claimed today that he is in talks with Aston Villa about a move to B6. According to Sky Sports, the former Arsenal, Norwich and Blackburn man told The Sun that, "I'm in talks with Villa at the moment. I really don't want to say much more. But we'll see what happens. I'm hopeful of sorting it out as soon as possible."

Clearly, he's said quite enough. Assuming Bentley doesn't want to fall foul of Martin O'Neill's notoriously prolific lawyers, we can take him at his word. Bentley is a decent striker of the ball, a clever passer and an excellent dead ball specialist, but question marks remain over his attitude and application. Shipped out of Arsenal as a relative youngster, Bentley found his feet at Blackburn Rovers and impressed many with is ability. He moved to Spurs last summer for a fee in the region of £15m but has disappointed at White Hart Lane.

That said, working under Juande Ramos is hardly an inspiring position, and Harry Redknapp's shocking treatment of players like Bentley and Darren Bent is one of many reasons to hate the Only Fools & Horses extra. Bentley's poor Spurs form hammered the final nail into the coffin of his 'new Beckham' status and having received seemingly no support from Redknapp he is surely looking for a move away from North London. For a talented Englishman with no chance of a move to the top four, Villa Park is as worthy a destination as any.

Villa fans have mixed feelings on this potential signing. Our summer seems inextricably linked with that of Spurs so far, with Jermaine Jenas, Tom Huddlestone and Darren Bent linked with a transfer in and Ashley Young, laughably, linked with a move in the opposite direction. For Villa, picking up Bentley on a low ebb represents an opportunity for Martin O'Neill, a man with a history of getting the best from problem players, to tease out his undeniable talent. But he can only do that if Bentley applies himself properly.

If Villa do sign Bentley and get anything like his Blackburn form then a reported £7m fee will be a snip. In a sense, the pressure to succeed on a massive scale will be off him if he gets this move. He'll be out of London, which means away from the intense media attention which is presumably unbearable when not playing well. He'll be at a new club, with plenty of colleagues from the England set-up, and will have a much smaller price tag hanging over him.

Bentley would give O'Neill a few options in terms of formation. He could play wide right, allowing James Milner to move into the central role in which some fans think he would shine. He could play behind strikers, or in the middle of the park himself with Milner remaining in place. There are others too, but that's for O'Neill to deal with.

But if these talks are just a part of a wider player swap with Spurs, supporters will be much less appreciative.

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If we can get him for anything near £7m that would be a steal. I would have expected we would have needed to find £10m minimum to sign him. One below par season does not suddenly make him a bad player and I think he could go on to be a very good player for us and England. I just worry that this had been made public before the ink is on a contract.

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I just worry that this had been made public before the ink is on a contract. - agreed. I don't think it reflects very well on Bentley at all. It almost seems like he's invitingsomeone else to come along and "hijack" things, which suggests he's not exactly committed to making a decision just now.

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Would be a great signing for anything under £10 million in my opinion. A 5 man midfield of:

Young - Petrov - Bentley - Milner

------------Reo Coker---------------

or

Young - Petrov - Milner - Bentley

-----------Reo Coker---------------

Would give us good width, pace, and passing and crossing ability, and if Milner were to move into the centre, it would shore up the tackling and defensive abilites of the midfeld too.

With Sidwell and Gardner pushing for places and possibly 1 other signing, would be a good midfield for next season and a few seasons to come.

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I just hope this isn't part of a player swap deal which does see Ash moving in the other direction. whilst i think at times he has become a little predictable going forward, neither Bentley, Huddlestone or Jenas are match-winners. Ashley Young in my mind is without a doubt. Remember the 3-2 win at Everton last season?

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A good acquisition in my opinion for £7-8m. He has not suddenly become a bad player. Mind you Dirty Harry is flying a kite of he thinks he will get Ashley Young.

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