SUNDERLAND have confirmed that Darren Bent handed in a transfer request after yesterday’s Wear-Tyne derby.
But they have yet to comment on Aston Villa’s £18million bid for their top scorer.
The Echo understands that reports Bent is in the West Midlands looking to tie up the deal are not accurate and Sunderland will not consider letting the striker leave for anywhere near the £18m mark.
The SAFC statement said: “The club can confirm that it received a written transfer request from Darren Bent following yesterday’s Wear-Tyne derby match.
The Black Cats paid a £12m fee to Spurs 18 months ago, rising to a potential £16m with add-ons and Sunderland reckon the player has at least doubled in value since then - scoring 24 Premier League goals last season and currently leading the club’s goalscoring charts with eight league goals - 11 in all competitions.
It is believed Bent put his transfer request in just two hours after the end of yesterday’s derby but Sunderland will hope to hold on to the player and will certainly not let him go for the fee of £18m offered at Villa Park.
The news has come like a bolt out of the blue and there are likely to be several twists before the situation is resolved.
But it’s a headache that manager Steve Bruce could have done without and if Bent is not sold in the transfer window, then the striker will be in a similar situation to Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford where he had to win back the fans after putting in a transfer request which came to nothing.
More reaction and comment in tomorrow’s Sunderland Echo.