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Signed: Darren Bent £18m rising to £24m with add on's

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Darren Bent is sensationally heading for Aston Villa in a £18 million deal, MirrorFootball can report.

Wearside hero Bent was today in the Midlands talking to Villa in a major coup for Gerard Houllier. The fee could rise to £24 million.

Villa slapped in a bumper bid for the England star on Sunday night and it was accepted.... in a massive gamble by Sunderland boss Steve Bruce and chairman Niall Quinn.

Bent, the leading English Premier League goal scorer in 2010, has been in indifferent form lately, with Bruce insisting he will start to take the chances that have gone begging, but he has still plundered 11 goals.

The mega deal, a Villa club record transfer, which could be finalised in the next 24 hours, is a huge boost to Houllier who has been under pressure to revive Villa who are fourth bottom of the league.

But it could also mean Sunderland, in sixth and chasing a surprise European spot, facing a backlash for not holding on to their top marksman.

Bent had been a fine servant to Sunderland scoring 32 goals in just 58 games in the league - and netting more than half the club's total haul last season.

The 26-year-old total haul for the Wearsiders was 36 in 62 games, form which earned him an England recall this season.

Bruce had no money to spend in the transfer window, but has now freed up cash to significantly strengthen - but a priority will be a goal scorer.

Sunderland were linked with a swoop for Manchester United striker Michael Owen at the weekend, which Bruce dismissed as "b*****ks after his side drew the Tyne Wear derby. However a cheap deal for Owen plus a move for his other targets including a left winger, could now be funded.

However agreeing to sell Bent will take some explaining to the Wearside faithful.

Villa have won only 15 points from a possible 51 under Houllier, who is in need of a kick start that Bent's arrival could provide.

http://tinyurl.com/6dekmsp

Twitter is going crazy over this..

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Up to £24m? He's scored a lot of goals before this season but that's a scary amount of money

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Also reported by The Times and Mat Kendrick has said something vague on Twitter.

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Owen Gibson of the Guardian....

http://twitter.com/#!/owen_g

owen_g Owen Gibson

Wonder how O'Neill feels, seeing Villa splash out £18m on Bent while he weighs up the West Ham job....

11 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

»

Owen Gibson

owen_g Owen Gibson

RT @CaulkinTheTimes: Darren Bent in the Midlands today discussing personal terms with Aston Villa after £18m bid accepted.

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Loads of rumours on Twitter that Sunderland have accepted a bid for £18M + add ons from Villa for Darren Bent's services.

We shall see.

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I think that Sunderland forum has crashed. Sounds like this is true though, but £18 million potentially rising to £24 million?

Being reported on Sky Sports now, yellow ticker!

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Aston Villa are on the brink of sealing a sensational £24million deal to sign Darren Bent.

Sunderland have accepted the huge offer from the Barclays Premier League rivals.

More to follow...

Dailymail..

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Huge amount of money for us if this comes off. Certainly can't question Randy's ambition though!

I just wonder if there are better strikers out there for that kind of money. Still, whether many would come to us in our situation, and considering that he's proven in the Premier League, I don't think it's a bad signing at all.

We need goals. Darren Bent scores goals.

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well if true, its a lot- but we have the milner money unspent and its not going to be £24 mil straight up

should have bought him a couple of years ago but MON chose his mate heskey instead

i dont think hes that great of a footballer in terms of technique etc, but hes a proven premier league goal scorer. we have enough players who can do the "all round game" hold it up, work hard etc but no one who can just hang around in the box and get goals

he is just what we need

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if this one comes off **** me i will eb absolutely delighted

cant see it being true. dont think we would spend 18m on him, even after hous comments that we dont need a striker..

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Just paid The Times £1 of my hard earned teacher salary to find out more info....

Darren Bent set for talks with Aston Villa after Sunderland accept £18 million bid

Villa made an £18 million offer for the Sunderland striker

Nigel French/Empics

Villa made an £18 million offer for the Sunderland striker Nigel French/Empics

George Caulkin Northern Sports Correspondent

Darren Bent travelled to the Midlands this morning to discuss personal terms and undertake a medical after Aston Villa had an extraordinary bid of £18 million for the England international accepted by Sunderland.

In a development which demonstrates that Gerard Houllier, the under-fire manager, retains the full confidence of Randy Lerner, the club’s owner, despite the threat of relegation, Villa are prepared to smash their transfer record to sign the centre forward. The deal, were it to proceed, would send ripples through the January market.

Villa have agreed to pay an initial fee of £18 million, rising to £24 million based on appearances and other factors, to Sunderland, who bought Bent from Tottenham Hotspur for £10 million rising to £16 million in the summer of 2009. There are unconfirmed suggestions that Stephen Ireland has been offered in part-exchange.

Villa, who are presently fourth from bottom of the Barclays Premier League, have picked up only 15 points from a possible 51 under Houllier, but such a significant outlay suggests that Lerner and his directors are backing the Frenchman.

The move will dismay many Sunderland supporters, who have formed a firm bond with Bent after his relocation to the North East. He has scored 32 league goals in 58 appearances for Steve Bruce’s side, won player of the year awards from both fans and the media and embraced life in the region. The club are due to release a statement later today in which they will say that Bent submitted a transfer request.

As the leading English goalscorer in the Barclays Premier League for 2010, Bent will be difficult to replace. He provided 50 per cent of the team’s tally in the division last season - when, during a difficult winter, they were on the fringes of the relegation skirmish - and played every game, while he has mustered 11 goals in all competitions this time.

Bruce will, however, be permitted to reinvest the funds and while he had anticipated a quiet transfer window, restricted to loan signings, he will now bring forward his plans to reshape his squad.

The manager has a longstanding interest in signing either Villa’s Stewart Downing or Charles N’Zogbia, of Wigan Athletic, both of whom are left wingers. He has also been monitoring Sebastian Larsson, who is out of contract at Birmingham City this summer.

Bent’s departure would, however, leave Sunderland short of options in attack. Asamoah Gyan has scored eight times since his £13 million summer arrival from Rennes, but Danny Welbeck, who is on loan from Manchester United, is their only other recognised striker and he is presently recuperating from a hamstring injury. Bruce would love to sign Welbeck on a permanent basis, but United have thus far shown little willingness to sell.

After Sunderland’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on Sunday, Bruce described reports linking him with United’s Michael Owen as “bull****”, but there might be logic in a short-term signing such as that. He could also transform Nedum Onuoha’s loan from Manchester City into a permanent deal, which would free up another domestic loan.

Unbelievable transfer if true.

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Remember that the £24m figure is after bonuses. I'm sure they'll only get the full amount if Bent scores an incredible amount of goals, breaks into the England team, sends us into the Champions League, etc. Yes, it'll probably rise above £18m, but to quote £24m as the price isn't quite accurate.

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