Aston Villa have released a statement responding to comments made by Sunderland over the transfer of Darren Bent, denying any wrongdoing in any part of the deal.
The England striker completed a shock deal to move to the Midlands on Tuesday in an £18million transfer that stunned the Wearsiders by its timing.
The statement comes in light of comments made by Black Cats boss Steve Bruce and chairman Niall Quinn regarding the player's decision and attitude over the past few weeks.
Bruce told the media of his dismay at the 26-year-old's decision, claiming that he had felt "let down" by his decision.
Bruce also stated that Bent had not been himself in training and Sunderland had "certainly not seen the best of him in games in recent weeks - and we now understand why."
Quinn appeared to echo those sentiments as well as suggesting that Villa had approached the player long before the deal went through.
He told Kildare TV: "I had an inkling. Darren is a terrific guy and he has been great for us.
"Two or three weeks ago maybe, I went into the training ground and there was something up with him.
"I looked at his demeanour and I thought, 'It's not right'. Having been in the game, you kind of know when someone's got something going on in their heads.
"It transpired that that's what had happened. They were setting him up to try and come and he took the bait.
"It's hugely disappointing for us, but all we could do then was battle hard and, when the transfer request came in, that was probably the final nail."
Villa however countered these claims, stating on their official website that no approach had been made to the player prior to his former club's 1-1 draw with Newcastle at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
"We understand Sunderland Football Club's need to explain to their naturally-disappointed supporters why Darren Bent has been allowed to leave their club," read the statement.
"It is disappointing, however, that Sunderland should try to besmirch the reputation of the player and Aston Villa Football Club in the process.
"We wish to make clear that at no time did Aston Villa make an inappropriate approach to the player or unfairly compromise the business of Sunderland Football Club.
"Darren only became aware of his possible transfer AFTER Sunderland's game against Newcastle on Sunday and AFTER we had agreed with Sunderland the essence of the deal, which led quickly to Darren's arrival at Villa Park on Tuesday.
"It is only because of some comments emanating from the Stadium of Light that we have felt compelled to respond and set the record straight."