Date: 16th January 2009 at 10:06am
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Martin O’Neill has again stated it is important that Villa look to strengthen the squad but says Villa won’t be caught out paying stupid prices. ‘If we can do that it will be great. If we are unable to do it then it won’t be through a lack of trying. You don’t mind paying a bit over the odds but if it becomes outrageous then you decide to leave it. Every club in the Premier League is in a similar situation to ourselves, thinking wouldn’t it be nice to add to it.’

Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia has apparently warned he would rather ‘walk out’ of the job than sell striker Kenwyne Jones who has been linked with Villa and Tottenham.

A report in the Times says that Spurs and England striker Darren Bent is being used as bait in a swap deal with Kenwyne Jones could be on his way to Sunderland, however, with Spurs stepping up their attempts to sign Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones by offering the England international in exchange. And the Sun say Spurs have bid £13million for the striker we are also said to be after turned down by the Black Cats.

In an exclusive by James Nursey in the The Mirror it is claimed that Villa are on the brink of a £14million bid for Spurs striker Darren Bent

The report says O’Neill is a fan of the 24-year-old striker and had tried to muscle in when he moved from Charlton to Spurs for £16.5million. The striker has 12 goals in total this season for the White Hart Lane outfit, 7 in the Premier League, 4 in Europe and 1 League Cup goal.

The Mirror article says that Bent would go to Villa not only because we are Champions League candidates but also due to the large number English international players already at the mighty Claret and Blues.

James Nursery further claims that Harry Redknapp might try to get a swap deal despite Randy Lerner having the funds for a straight cash purchase with Nicky Shorey (who has been linked with Spurs before in this transfer window) or former West Ham midfielder Nigel Hokey-Cokey being potential targets. With the Hokey-Cokey now playing at right-back he might well be unsettled and fancy a trip back down to London. I would think that would get mixed reactions from Villa fans, what do you think?

Bent’s Wiki entry, not always the most reliabale stats wise but a good guide: Click Here

According to the wiki stats, in a struggling Charlton side he had a 1 in 2 goal ratio. England U21’s he has played 14 times scoring 8 goals and he has earnt 4 full caps for his national team as well. For Spurs he has appeared 47 times scoring 13 goals (that must be PL goals I’d assume) and a fair number of those appearances for Spurs would have been from the bench before Sulky boy Dimitar Berbatov was sold.