Bent denies money motivated Villa move
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Aston Villa's new striker Darren Bent insists money wasn't the motivation for his club record £24 million move from Sunderland.

Bent made a surprise switch to Villa Park yesterday after Gerard Houllier's side agreed to shatter their transfer record in a deal that is reported to have included weekly wages of around £85,000 for the England international.

With Villa languishing in the lower reaches of the Premier League and Sunderland currently competing for a UEFA Europa League place, Bent has been accused of moving just for money. But the former Tottenham Hotspur player is adamant the ambitions and size of Villa had been the main factors in him signing a four-and-a-half-year contract.

The 26-year-old is poised to make his debut in Saturday's home Premier League clash with Manchester City. Bent said: "Everyone has different opinions about things. I could could have gone to West Ham for more money when I left Charlton but chose Tottenham for footballing reasons. It is the same here with Villa.

Everyone has different opinions about things. I could could have gone to West Ham for more money when I left Charlton but chose Tottenham for footballing reasons. It is the same here with Villa.
Darren Bent, Aston Villa striker

"People have asked why I swapped a top six club for one currently in the bottom four. But I believe Villa are in a false position, they have been sixth for the past three seasons, and it is a new challenge for me. Villa are a massive club and, as soon as I knew they were interested, I wanted to be part of it and help get them back to where they belong."

Bent admits he regrets his goal-laced spell with the Black Cats ending the way it did after just 18 months. He said: "I am sure Steve Bruce and the fans will be disappointed and I am sorry it ended the way it did. But I showed my passion for the club in the two years I was there and now I am looking forward to the future with Villa."

Houllier managed to keep his interest in Bent under wraps until 48 hours ago and believes he has signed a player approaching his peak years. He said: "He will be a great asset for years ahead. His arrival will send out a clear message about the ambitions of the football club.

"We have bought him to spearhead our attack and to help build something strong and lasting at our club. Darren will be a key element for us. He is 26 and entering the prime of his life. He fits the bill in terms of what we want to achieve long term."

Bent has netted 81 Premier League goals in the last five years - a figure only bettered by Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney with 82 apiece.