Manchester City's Edin Dzeko and Aston Villa's Darren Bent to face each other

22 January 2011 01:18
As of Friday night, the January transfer 'totaliser' that keeps track of Barclays Premier League spending on the Sky Sports website stood at £68million.

That sounds a lot until you realise that just two recent transfers account for £51m of it.

On Saturday evening, in front of the television cameras at Villa Park, Darren Bent will come face to face with Edin Dzeko of Manchester City. Mr £24m against Mr £27m. An Englishman up against a Bosnian made in Germany.

Big money signings: Manchester City's Edin Dzeko (left) and Aston Villa new boy Darren Bent (right)

Any manager will tell you that proven and reliable goalscorers are the hardest commodity to find. If Chelsea had a functioning one at the moment, for example, they would not be out of the title race.

For Villa boss Gerard Houllier, signing Bent from Sunderland is a move designed to keep himself in a job and his team out of the bottom six.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson addressed the issue of value in the transfer market again on Friday when he said: 'Villa are in a precarious position and they've gone for broke by signing Bent. You can't understand the market nowadays.'

For Roberto Mancini at City, Dzeko has arrived to win him the league. Villa have won only once in the league since November 10, while City have lost only once since the end of October.

The needs of the two clubs are different. But centre forwards more than other players are bought for one reason. Managers think they can make the difference.

Mancini said on Friday night: 'We wanted Dzeko from the summer. Now we've got him. He was always our target.

'I'm very happy with the choice I made because I think that Dzeko is one of the best strikers in Europe now. For City he will be a very important player in the future. He can make the difference for us.'

English football fans will perhaps not know too much about Dzeko, a Bosnia player. In a perverse way, though, not that much is known about Bent in terms of his ability to be a goalscorer of the highest quality.

His record in the Premier League is good but many coaches still have reservations about how far his talent can take him. Harry Redknapp who was happy to sell him to Sunderland two years ago paid lip service to Bent's worth on Friday.

But the Tottenham manager saved hisstrongest recommendation for Dzeko. Redknapp said: 'The fee for Dzekolooks cheap, doesn't it? I spoke to (Wolfsburg boss) Steve McClarenlast week and hesaid that he is fantastic.

'He (McClaren) said that he is absolutely different class. He said that he has everything. Dzeko looks cheap, in fairness.'

Whether£27m can be seen as 'cheap' even by City's standards is debatable.But Mancini and his staff have been impressed with Dzeko in training,and the 24-year-old has surprised them with hisability to play between the central defenders in eight-a-side games.

Looking good: Dzeko impressed on his Manchester City debut against Wolves last week

Bent plays slightly differently and will look to operate on the shoulders of the two City central defenders today as well as provide Villa with a focus for the services of Ashley Young and StewartDowning.

Villa are set up to play this way but have struggled in Houllier's time to bring the best from Emile Heskey and John Carew. Houllier said: 'We are very happy he (Bent) is here. The chairman came to see his first training session. He is a tremendous asset, not only for the coming months but for the years ahead.

'Dzeko is a good striker. He scores goals, makes goals. Darren is more mobile, more incisive with his runs, Dzeko more of a holding player. Darren's record speaks for itself, though.'

Houllier hopes Bent has come to him ready-made. Dzeko may need a little longer to adjust. Both must ultimately make the difference, though.

That's what £51m is for.

 We're being held to ransom! Roberto Mancini bemoans extortionate cost of January transfersWe're not Bent! Houllier says Villa acted by the book in pursuit of £24m manHell Bent on shooting down Man City! Darren aims to mark debut with winner

 Explore more:People: John Carew, Emile Heskey, Edin Dzeko, Alex Ferguson, Darren Bent, Harry Redknapp, Ashley Young, Stewart Downing, Roberto Mancini, Gerard Houllier Places: Bosnia, Germany, Europe

Source: Daily_Mail