Bent's last game?

IF today turns out to be Darren Bent's last game in an Ipswich Town shirt then he should be allowed to leave with good grace, although supporters will undoubtedly vent their anger towards the board, writes Derek Davis.

IF today turns out to be Darren Bent's last game in an Ipswich Town shirt then he should be allowed to leave with good grace, although supporters will undoubtedly vent their anger towards the board, writes Derek Davis.

The club have already turned down one offer of £3m for the England Under-21 striker but no amount of prompting, probing or attempts to get anyone at the club to confirm they would turn down another bid produced an answer.

Chairman David Sheepshanks put a statement on the club website denying Charlton had been given a price for Bent before they made their official bid, which was then turned down.

But he did not allay fans' fears that if, as widely expected, a follow-up bid came in before Tuesday's deadline it would be rejected.


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But then why should he?

It is quite clear if a suitable offer was made then Bent, or any player for that matter, he will be sold.

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Quite rightly the board must always act in what they see as the best interests of the club and if that means bringing in money to help Joe Royle improve his squad then so be it.

Some supporters may feel aggrieved after buying season tickets on the basis that the much-vaunted youngsters from the Academy will form the nucleus of the squad.

But, as my colleague Steve Mellen pointed out, when does the future actually start? How can you be building for the future when you continue to sell your home-grown talent?

There is no doubting Bent's importance to Town but as we have seen in the past selling your stars can be beneficial.

If Kieron Dyer had not gone to Newcastle for £6m then George Burley would not have had the funds to bring in Marcus Stewart and Martijn Reuser, and I'm sure no one needs reminding how important their contribution to promotion was.

The other important factor is the player, who must consider his own career and future.

Playing in the Premiership is the ultimate – when to make the move is always a conundrum.

Bent probably did the right thing last year by turning down Newcastle but 15 months later it is a different proposition.

Last week, talking about no one in particular, Jason De Vos pointed out that while players have a feeling for a club they do not think like fans.

They are professionals and have to put that ahead of everything else.

Fellow team-mate Shefki Kuqi is convinced Bent would be a hit in the top flight.

He said yesterday: "It is a big opportunity for Darren.

"He has done brilliantly for us at Ipswich but for every player the target is the Premiership. If it happens it will be great for him and Darren knows that too. He is a young lad but he has grown rapidly at Ipswich and can be a good player in the Premiership.

"There is a lot of good young talent in the Premiership and Darren is up there with them. When you have the sort of pace Darren has, you can go a long way."

Kuqi warned that Bent is still developing and needs to be playing to continue growing.

He added: "This is the second season he has played regular first-team football and the main thing for him is to play week-in, week-out, so to go somewhere and sit on the bench is not a good thing,

"Charlton have seen him many times so they know why they want him and I'm sure he would be used."

Ideally the transfer window will close before a deal is done and Bent will happily contribute for a further four months, by which time his stock will probably have risen further and he will have fired in a few more goals to keep Town in the promotion hunt.

Either way this could be a win-win situation.

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