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Transfer Rater: Ozil to Man United

By ESPN Staff

'I never wanted to leave Charlton' - Bent

Charlton striker Darren Bent maintains 'it was never in my mind to leave' during the transfer window.

The England international - who turned 23 earlier this week - has been sidelined since December 30 with a knee problem, but continually found himself linked with a big-money move away from the Barclays Premiership strugglers last month.

However, despite reports of an £18million bid from fellow relegation battlers West Ham, the south-east London club insisted their leading scorer was not for sale.

Bent revealed it was something that he did not let deflect his focus from returning to full fitness.

'Obviously people were speculating here, there and everywhere - but it was never in my mind to leave,' he said.

'I knew that was the case the whole time so I just forgot about it and concentrated on getting myself fit.'

Bent will not be rushed into action for tomorrow's trip to Premiership leaders Manchester United, but should be back in contention to face the Hammers and his old manager Alan Curbishley in a relegation six-pointer at The Valley on February 24.

'The injury is not too bad now,' Bent told the club's official website.

'I was originally told I would be out for six weeks, but I shot back quite quickly after just two weeks.

'However, I had a bit of a setback so we decided to slow it down.

'Now it is 100% and I cannot wait to get going.

'I have been told that West Ham is my target, so I am gearing myself up for that.'

With matches against teams around them in the table, such as Watford and Wigan, all set to come before Easter, the return of their leading marksman could not be more timely.

Bent said: 'It is frustrating not to be out there because I want to be helping the team to stay in the Premier League.

'I am 100% confident we will be in the Premiership next year.

'Some of our performances this year have been brilliant, but we just have not had the rub of the green. Now it seems like it is starting to turn.

'It is going to be a tough end to the season, but we know we can do it.'