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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Bent set for £24m Villa move

Darren Bent's £24 million whirlwind transfer to Aston Villa will be completed on Tuesday barring any last-minute hiccups according to ESPNsoccernet sources close to the shock Sunderland sale.

• Adams: Villa invest in promise of goals
• Blog: Darren Bent - good business?
• Blog: Relegation fear urged Bent deal
• Forum: Is Bent worth it?
Bruce speaks out over attack
Sunderland fan shows remorse

Bent is concluding personal terms after the £18 million transfer - rising to £24 million with add ons - was agreed between the club and on Sunday evening the player confirmed his desire to go by submitting a transfer request immediately after the derby game with Newcastle.

ESPNsoccernet's source close to the deal said on Monday night: "I cannot tell you the precise geographical location of Darren at this moment, but the player has been in talks with Aston Villa in the Midlands over personal terms and the transfer is progressing in the right direction.

"The terms of the deal between the clubs is agreed and I see no reason to suppose the deal won't go through very quickly."

While neither manager Steve Bruce nor Sunderland are happy, they will not stand in the player's way. Bruce confirmed the story to ESPNsoccernet and said: "I'm disappointed but that's the way it is."

The deal, which would be a club record for Villa, could rise to £24 million depending on the club's survival and future trophies, as well as Bent's goals and appearances.

Bent, who turns 27 next month, has scored 32 goals in 58 appearances in the league since joining Sunderland from Tottenham in 2009 for an initial £10 million.

A club statement on Monday afternoon read: "The club can confirm that it received a written transfer [request] from Darren Bent following yesterday's Wear-Tyne derby match."

Bruce is understood to have been shocked both by the transfer request and the amount Villa were prepared to pay, and was taking time out to reflect - and walk his dogs on the beach - before releasing an official comment on the situation.

Asked recently about the prospect of selling any of his star players, Bruce had said: "It would take crazy offers for me to consider anything.

"The ones who are out on loan are the ones where I would envisage there would be a bit of business to be done but, as for the big 'uns we have got, we have worked extremely hard, the chairman and the owner, to get the club in this situation, so the last thing you would want to be doing is dismantling it.

"It would take ridiculous money, absolutely, for us even to think about doing anything."

He is left with problems as he has only two weeks left of the transfer window to replace his star striker. Sunderland were linked with a move for Manchester United's Michael Owen but Bruce dismissed those rumours as "bull****" after the 1-1 draw against Newcastle on Sunday.

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