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With the striker seemingly out of favour at Villa Park, Willie Duncan looks at which club the former England international is likely to join if he leaves the Midlands side

Despite Aston Villa’s drastic deterioration in form in recent weeks, the continued absence of Darren Bent from Paul Lambert’s starting XI continues to perplex many neutral observers.

Bent, who has been one of the Premier League’s most consistent goalscorers over the years, has been nothing more than a bit-part player for Villa under Lambert’s stewardship this season and, with just 10 days of the January transfer window remaining, speculation about the England striker’s future is sure to intensify.

With that in mind, Paddy Power have opened a market on which club Bent is likely to join when he finally departs Villa Park.

The Irish bookmakers clearly feel that west London is a likely destination for Bent as both Martin Jol’s Fulham and Harry Redknapp’s Queens Park Rangers are available at 7/2 (4.50) to secure the former Sunderland striker’s signature.

A move to Craven Cottage, though, surely seems the most likely of the two given the circumstances of Bent’s departure from White Hart Lane in 2009 following blistering criticism from then-Tottenham Hotspur boss Redknapp after Bent missed an easy chance for the Lilywhites.

Furthermore, Redknapp has recently bolstered his QPR squad with the addition of Loic Remy from Marseille last week and, therefore, the manager may look elsewhere to strengthen his squad.

Darren Bent's Next Club

Odds from Paddy Power
Fulham 7/2
QPR 7/2
Newcastle 4/1
Sunderland 15/2
Everton 9/1
Liverpool 10/1
Martin Jol’s Cottagers have been struggling recently, having won just one of their last 15 games and the Dutch manager, who signed Bent for Spurs in 2007, may move for the striker again as he looks to add to Fulham’s striking options for the closing months of the campaign.

Should Bent decide against a move to London, the former Sunderland forward may be tempted by a return to the north east to sign for the Black Cats’ rivals, Newcastle United.

The Magpies are in freefall, having won just one of their last 10 matches in all competitions and Alan Pardew’s men may see Bent, rated as a 4/1 (5.0) chance with Paddy Power to join Newcastle, as an ideal replacement for Demba Ba, who joined Chelsea earlier this month.

A return to Sunderland seems unlikely for Bent, with Paddy Power offering 9/1 (10.0) that Martin O’Neill moves for the striker who scored 32 goals in 58 appearances for the Black Cats while a move to Merseyside also seems unlikely with Paddy Power offering 9/1 (10.0) for Bent to join Everton while the same firm go 10/1 (11.0) that the striker joins Liverpool.

Following QPR’s capture of Loic Remy from under the noses of Newcastle United, Alan Pardew may well turn to Bent to help save his side’s season and the 4/1 (5.0) from Paddy Power for him to make Newcastle his next permanent club is a tempting offer here.

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Newcastle United to be Darren Bent's next club at 4/1 (5.0) with Paddy Power

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