Darren Bent reveals bizarre story behind his £10m move to Sunderland from Tottenham Hotspur
Darren Bent has revealed the bizarre story behind his £10million move to Sunderland from Tottenham Hotspur in August 2009.
The retired striker, 36, moved to the Stadium of Light at the beginning of Steve Bruce’s reign for a then club-record fee.
In the build-up to his move, Bent publically hit out at Spurs chairman Daniel Levy over the time in which it had taken for the transfer to be completed.
Out of frustration, Bent accused Levy of disrupting his switch to Wearside before the former Charlton Athletic man apologised.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Bent has opened up on the saga, which he says required him to get off a plane, moments before it was due to fly to China.
However, instead of Bent travelling straight to the North East to finalise his move, he was forced to remain at home for two weeks.
Bent explained: “We were scheduled to go to China for pre-season and I’m on the plane – all day I’m saying ‘there’s no point in me going because I’m going to sign for Sunderland’. Even Harry (Redknapp) was saying ‘yeah that’s right but Daniel (Levy) says you’ve got to go’.
“I get on the plane, the doors shut and the chief exec, he comes running back saying ‘oh Darren, you can get off the plane now, I think a deal’s been done’.
"So, I’m sitting on the plane, the doors are shut and they say ‘oh Darren, you can get off the plane now because I think the deal for Sunderland has been done so you don’t have to come to China’.
"All the boys were laughing at me thinking ‘why you even coming?’
"I had to get off the plane, get my bag, make my own way home from the airport but the worst part about it was the deal did not get done until they (Spurs) got back (from China). You’re talking two weeks later because they went for 10 days.
"I’m sitting in the house doing nothing. I can’t go up to Sunderland because I’m not allowed, I can’t train – for two weeks I was just sitting there in limbo because Daniel Levy is picking the bones out of this deal."
Eventually, Bent became a Sunderland player, 10 days before their Premier League opener with Bolton Wanderers, where he scored the winner in a 1-0 victory.
Bent added: "I’d rather they’d got the deal done when they said it was going to get done, go up to Sunderland, meet my new teammates rather than having a week to prepare for the Premier League season.
"Apparently, he wanted to drain every last bit of money out of it. They (Sunderland) paid £10million so he (Daniel Levy) wanted to get close to it."
Bent scored 36 goals for the Black Cats during his one-and-half-years on Wearside before controversially leaving for Aston Villa for £24million.
He failed to hit the heights he reached with the Black Cats, netting just 25 times in four years at Villa Park – which included loan spells at Fulham, Brighton and Derby.