Former Sunderland stars on the move

Darren Bent.
Darren Bent.
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DARREN BENT is among a trio of former Sunderland strikers who could be on the move this summer.

There is little sympathy among Sunderland supporters to Bent’s plight at Aston Villa this season after the England striker has been cast to the fringes under Paul Lambert.

Bent’s strike in last weekend’s final-day draw for Villa arrived on only his second Premier League start of 2013 after being forced to play second fiddle to 19-goal Christian Benteke.

Lambert’s initial faith in Bent, which saw him hand the 29-year-old the captaincy on first arriving last summer, clearly hasn’t persisted.

Reports this week suggested Villa are willing to let Bent leave the club, although they did adopt a similar stance in January and there was little interest.

The barrier for both Villa and Bent isn’t necessarily the transfer fee – it is accepted that a large part of the £24million paid to Sunderland in January 2011 will have to be written off.

But Bent’s wages of more than £65,000 a week will put off a sizeable section of suitors, although Fulham are thought to be keeping tabs on the former Spurs frontman.

Bent needs to be playing regularly though, particularly in a World Cup year after being snubbed for England’s last three appearances at major tournaments.

Ex-Sunderland loanee Nicklas Bendtner is also in need of new employers.

Bendtner has endured a miserable campaign on loan at Italian giants Juventus where he made just 10 goalless appearances, before suffering a groin injury in January which brought a premature end to his season.

Juventus have no interest in landing Bendtner on a permanent deal, while there is similarly no future for him at parent club Arsenal, as he enters the final year of his Gunners contract.

Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt could offer Bendtner a lifeline, yet the Dane’s lofty wages at the Emirates mean another loan is the most feasible option for him to earn first-team football.

Bendtner’s predecessor as Sunderland’s principal centre-forward, Asamoah Gyan, has had no problems getting game-time this season.

Gyan has netted 30 times for Al-Ain to break the goal-scoring record in the United Arab Emirates’ Pro-League.

But despite Gyan’s decision to swap the Premier League for the footballing backwater of the Middle East two years ago, the Ghanaian is keen to return to Europe.

And it is thought that one undisclosed Premier League club is interested in signing Gyan, who has four years remaining on his Al-Ain contract.