Bent - No early approach

Villa new boy plays down suggestion he knew deal was coming

Bent: Fresh start

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Darren Bent insists no approach from Aston Villa was put to him until Sunday, despite what Sunderland claim.

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The Black Cats have responded badly to seeing their star striker snatched away by a Premier League rival and have hit out at the whole transfer saga.

Steve Bruce and Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn have both expressed their opinion on the matter, believing a deal had been in the pipeline some time.

Bent argues otherwise, though, claiming he was unaware of any interest from Villa until after Sunday's Wear-Tyne derby against Newcastle.

He told Sky Sports News: "Sunday, that's when I was approached and told that the club had accepted a bid.

"They said 'Aston Villa are the club, what's your thoughts?' I thought about it and then said I want to join.

"Where they are at the moment is a false position. They have got some top, top players and I saw that first-hand today in training, how good they are.

"Gerard Houllier is a top manager, he has won several things in the English game, so when someone like that comes knocking and says he wants to sign you, you don't hesitate."

Disappointing

Bent admits that the grumblings coming out of the Stadium of Light are likely to have been fuelled by frustration, with Sunderland never going to take kindly to losing their top marksman.

He added: "Maybe. It is a bit disappointing, the way it has all come about, when you read certain things.

"You spend the best part of 18 months getting on perfectly well with the manager and the owners and a day later when you have moved clubs, they are all having a dig at me.

"It is disappointing but I will never have anything bad to say about the football club, it is a fantastic club. They have great supporters who were brilliant to me.

"It is disappointing the way it's finished and what's happening now, but I'm at Aston Villa and I can't worry about what a former manager or chairman has said about me."