Here we go again! This week I’ll just concentrate on the one player and go to town on him. This guy came very close to being in last weeks edition, but I couldn’t ignore the hype I created in my own head around Iago Aspas. For those that took the punt on Lescott stick with him, this will be the last time he has a midfielder standing next to him in defence!
On to this week. If any player, in any sport, in any country, ever had something to prove… It’s this bloke. For reasons we’ll only find out in autobiographies in several years time, he was sent to the doghouse last season and was left there. He wasn’t fed any love, nor given any games or a chance to prove himself to his new gaffer. Turns out the gaffer was right, he was up against Benteke and ‘Tekkers has turned into a monster! He has that opportunity now to showcase his talent, and you just know he’ll be giving it everything he has to show his employers how good he is. Or more likely, to show prospective buyers. In a World Cup year he also has a great opportunity to get himself back into the national set up and get on the plane to Rio.
Bent (6.5m) – 2.4%
Darren Bent was in my team for most of the preseason hoping that the projected move away from Villa Park was finalised a little earlier than it was. The uncertainty about his immediate future forced me to jump off him and Bony up. Newcastle and Fulham were both vying for his services but in the end it was Fulham that won, albeit only on a season’s loan. I can see this move working out really well for both Bent and Fulham. Bent gets his chance to prove Villa wrong, and Fulham get a player who is not only starving for
attention goals but is also the out and out goal scorer they’ve probably needed. You get the feeling with Berbatov that, although he is still one of the most talented strikers going around, he isn’t the type of player that’s going to be hanging off the last defender sniffing out goal scoring opportunities like Bent will. Berba’s more of a link-up/creator type and that may have limited Fulham’s output last season. Also, it gives them a quality get out option when Berba has one of his off days…
Stat time… 151 goals in 363 career league games across 6 clubs. His three seasons at Villa netted 21 in 54 but it was at Sunderland prior to that where he got his mojo well and truly on. 32 in 58 games which included 24 in 38 during the 2009-10 season. 24 goals in a season! RVP only managed 26 last year. It might be interesting to note that Bent had very much an up and down spell at Tottenham prior to that massive season and he copped some criticism from certain parts (including his own manager) which eventually led to the move away. His first season at Sunderland was seen as a fresh start, and one where he could get back to scoring goals. Sound familiar?
How he fits into Fulham’s starting XI however is a little bit of a grey area. If he starts then that means that Berba may need to drop back into the hole because I doubt Fulham will play two full time strikers. I personally think this will suit them. With Parker and the underrated Sidwell behind them it may provide the balance to play that more attacking no 10 type in Berba. The other option is what they did against Arsenal and play him off the bench and start Taarabt behind Berba… Only Martin Jol knows what’s going to happen!
Which is a nice little segway into what I call the “Jol Effect”. Martin Jol, apart from being one of the great character’s in world football, is also very adept at eeking out the last drops of performance out of players seen to be on the wrong side of the hill, or were mistreated by their previous owners. In the current team, he obviously has Berba, but also Duff, Arne Riise and Karagounis who have been very valuable in filling roles within his team. Can Jol do the same for Bent? I can’t see why not!
For me, there’s more than enough compelling evidence to suggest Darren Bent will have a good season. If you’re looking for that cheaper striker to allow for the inclusion of RVP then he is a very good pick up if you have a spare million or two to upgrade from a potential super cheapie.
On the flip side, Paul Lambert might be right. He might actually be finished…