Vol. 5 Num 926 Sat. January 06, 2007  

Charlton open to Bent offers

New Charlton manager Alan Pardew revealed yesterday that his plan to save Charlton from relegation involves selling the club's prize asset, striker Darren Bent.

Bent has been the only player capable of scoring regularly for the Addicks this season, hitting eight of the club's 17 Premiership goals as he continues the excellent form he has shown since arriving at The Valley from Ipswich for 2.5 million pounds in June 2005.

When Pardew took over from the sacked Les Reed on Christmas Eve, he insisted he had no intention of letting the 22-year-old go, but the striker has since picked up a knee injury that will keep him out for much of January, meaning the club is obliged to find a replacement for him. That replacement -- plus several other new players -- could be funded by the sale of Bent, though Pardew was at pains to point out today that he believes the player to be worth much more than 7 million pounds, the value that some Premiership suitors have reportedly put on him.

7 million isn't going to touch the sides for Darren Bent," said Pardew. "This is a top-class player in my view. After watching him for just a week and a bit, he's an England player and that's how he should set his goals. My priority when I came here, and when he was fit, was that he was not going to go anywhere, that was categorical.

"But his injury at the moment gives us a problem. We cannot afford to have him out of the team for five weeks, so I'm having to assess it and weigh up all the situations and I'll have to do what's right for Charlton. The injury changes things. We are trying to locate a strike to replace him, so we'll see. Certainly the figures for Darren Bent being bandied around are way too low."

In total, Bent has struck 33 goals in 66 appearances for Charlton, a strike-rate similar to the one he had during his four seasons at Ipswich. Liverpool and Tottenham have been strongly linked with a move for Bent, but Spurs this morning denied that they have already made a bid. West Ham manager Alan Curbishley is also reported to be keen on a reunion with Bent, whom he signed for Charlton.

Meanwhile, Charlton also announced today that former Hull City boss Phil Parkinson has been hired as Pardew's assistant.