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In One Day McClaren Tells Both Newcastle & Derby to "Get Bent"
Saturday, 3rd Jan 2015 06:55 by Daniel J Sewart

In the same 24 hours that Steve McClaren ruled out a move to Newcastle by saying ‘he had a job to do’ at Derby, Macca added some firepower by signing Darren Bent on loan until the end of the season.

Just over a year ago, Bent was valued at around 24 million pounds but now after spectacularly falling out of favour at Aston Villa, the former England striker could prove to be the bargain signing of the season for DCFC.

After agreeing to sign for Derby for the remainder of the campaign, the move signals the intent by the club to make the final push to achieve promotion.

A big name signing (on big wages as well no doubt – even if subsidised), capable of inflicting serious damage to opposition teams, is exactly what Derby need to solidify not just their top 6 status but take the leap to a serious and more importantly, stable top 2 team.

There is no doubt Chris Martin is a fantastic goal scorer and his record has been amazing at Derby – but if he doesn’t fire then the Rams have had a lack of other options to call on, especially as Leon Best has not filled the back up role McClaren had hoped he would.

Bent is not just a back up, he is a player who will want first team football and has no doubt come to Derby on that promise. This means we can probably expect a change of formation - with Martin and Bent both leading the line.

The way the Rams have played under McClaren has worked a lot more than it has not but against the best teams, both last season and this (Leicester, Burnley, Boro etc), Derby have at times been strangled and struggled to find a suitable ‘Plan B’.

The signing of Bent gives Derby not only a ‘Plan B’ but perhaps even a ‘Plan C’.

Defenders having to worry about both Martin & Bent with the likes of Russell, Ibe (hopefully – hands off Rogers!!), Ward & Dawkins buzzing around them – is a tantalizing prospect for Rams fans and even more of a headache for opposition Managers.

On top of that, if it is not working, McClaren can revert to his tried and true system that the players know so well, or even a mix of both, with all three systems of 442, 4132 or 4141 all suddenly more than viable options with Bents addition.

The fact is while at Villa and Fulham in particular – Bent never had the quality service he had experienced at his previous clubs and at Championship level, there are few better teams in producing build up play than the Rams. With two quality finishers like Martin and Bent on the end of that play, it could take Derby to an even higher gear if the to strikers click alongside each other – which will be the key to this move working successfully.

It seems to be a win – win for the Rams, as at the very worst, Bent adds another player for the opposition to focus on which can only be a bonus for other Derby players that have become targets over the last year of continued on field success.

Steve McClaren was delighted to have landed the multi million dollar man when he spoke to the media on Friday:

“We are delighted to welcome Darren Bent for the rest of the season. He adds to our already excellent attacking options. Darren has scored goals wherever he has been during his career and we believe he can contribute on the field for us. We’ve got plenty of big matches coming up for everyone to look forward to – and Darren certainly brings big game experience with him.”

Bent was also highly complimentary of the DCFC especially having lined up against them recently for Brighton:

“They (Derby) blew us out of the water in the first 20 minutes; they are quick, direct and pass the ball well. The way they play the game and their philosophy has a Premier League feel to it. That’s something I’m really happy to be part of.”

“I’ve only just got here, so I can’t think too far ahead but it’s definitely something I would consider (a permanent move), if it goes well and Derby are celebrating going up to the Premier League, it could be good for all concerned.”

“It would seem that the door is shut for me at Villa now, certainly while this manager is in charge. They have struggled to score lately and I’ve still not got anywhere near the team. I’ve had fantastic times at Villa and have had a brilliant relationship with the fans. But my time has finished there now and I’m looking forward to getting started at Derby.”

Bent has been capped by England 13 times (alongside Steve McClaren for a short time) during his career which started at Ipswich Town (48 goals - 122 games) and Charlton Athletic (31 goals - 68 games). The Addicks sold him for a club record £16.5million to Tottenham in 2007 where he managed 18 goals in 60 games.

Hi move to Sunderland for a reported £10 million pounds, was where he was at his most prolific with 32 goals in 58 games. In 2011 when Aston Villa came in with a deal for Bent worth £18million, rising to £24 million, the striker put in a transfer request and was on his way. Villa was not the happy hunting ground both parties hoped it would be as despite a bright start with 17 goals in his first season, had only managed a total of 21 goals in 61 appearances at the completion of the 2012/13 season.

After falling out of favour at the struggling Villa, Bent completed a season long loan at Fulham (3 goals - 24 games) in 2013/14 and a 1 month loan at Brighton Hove Albion this season (2 goals - 5 games) before joining Derby yesterday.

It is a long time since the Rams signed a big “name” player and you can’t help but get excited - as a striker with his experience and talent - at his best could tear the Championship apart. Coupled with an already formidable line up at DCFC – it is a move that could define the promotion push and be the difference between automatic or having to once again face the play-offs.

Let’s hope that Bent is one of the final pieces to ensure the Rams secure a top 2 spot and save us all more heartbreak come seasons end.

Welcome to DCFC Darren, may your time here be successful and you can recapture the form that made you one of the most formidable strikers in England.


Photo: Action Images

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