The Alarming Cost of Darren Bent’s Contribution to Aston Villa

A Symbol of Intent

The signing of Darren Bent under Gerard Houllier had Villa supporters believing that Randy Lerner wasn’t messing around. Even after spending good money after bad funding Martin O’Neill’s attempts on Champions League qualification, after O’Neill hit his glass ceiling and walked out of the club, to spend in the region of £20 million on Bent suggested Villa still had ambition as they finally snagged a 20-goal a season man.

While the transfer fee and £65,000-a-week wages were both above his market value, at the time at least, the aggressive move to rip him from the clutches of Sunderland suggested that Lerner’s ambition for the club still burnt brightly.

With his goal-scoring record, Bent was the kind of player on paper at least that may have completed O’Neill’s team, although at the time Bent signed for Houllier, that team was starting to fragment with Gareth Barry and James Milner already gone.

In hindsight, some Villa fans talk about Bent’s goals saving Villa from the drop in one season at least, but if you strengthened a team by distributing that £20 million investment over two or three decent players, you probably wouldn’t be in a relegation battle in the first place.

You could also perhaps write a thesis on the Paul Lambert’s seemingly bizarre treatment of Bent from electing him captain to demoting him to the ‘Bomb Squad’ within a season.

Long-awaited Goodbye

Since Lerner  has exercised his long winter of austerity at the club over the past four seasons, the Villa board have been long looking forward to the day that Bent’s £65,000-a-week wage came off the books. Only Shay Given and Charles N’Zogbia’s wages now remain as the real stains on the accounts.

When you look back and do the maths on Darren Bent like the Daily Telegraph did (from which the below stats are taken from), it makes for nightmarish reading for the Villa board. Even when you factor in the wages saved from the ex-England international’s loan spells at Fulham, Brighton and Derby, it is estimated that Bent cost the club £35.8m in total over the course of the four-and-a-half years he was at Villa Park.



The Brutal Cost of Darren Bent Aston Villa Stats

Darren Bent made 61 Premier League appearances – starting just 45 times – and based on Opta stats, here’s the amazing price Villa paid for his stats…

Cost of an appearance

Each appearance has cost the club over £586,000,

Cost of a start

£796,000 per start. Ouch!

Cost of a Goal

Bent scored 21 league goals. The cost per goal? £1.7million per goal

Cost of a Touch

Averaged 21.5 touches per game – each touch cost Villa £27,000

Cost of a Pass

He completed 632 passes. The cost per Bent pass is £57,000


Where did it go wrong at Villa for Darren Bent?

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  1. I absolutely agree that the Darren Bent venture was very costly and a shocking example of mismanagement. However, the list of the Bent stats can be misinterpreted. You can only pick one single statistic as the cost. For example, while it is correct that the cost per goal was $1.7m, that one statistic uses up all the money, so that all the other stats are zero. It would be interesting to see similar stats for other players in the Prem. How much did Rooney’s 12 goals cost at $13 m wages this season? And Falcao? $15.6 m wages for 4 goals and 12 starts. How about Dzeko? 4 goals for $8.5 m wages. Adebayor… 2 goals for $5.84 m. OK, Villa have a lot less money to spend/waste than Utd, City and others but I suspect there are many other good stats to be found for the less well-endowed clubs to put the Bent costs in perspective.

  2. The days when a club could afford a goalscorer who contributed little else to the team effort are long gone

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