Darren Bent has revealed how he was going to sign for West Ham until being put off by one sentence from former owner Eggert Magnusson.
The former England striker has revealed on the podcast ‘All to Play For‘ that he was once close to signing for West Ham. Darren Bent at the time was registered to Charlton Athletic and was on scintillating form having scored thirty-one goals in two seasons.
Once the Addicks were relegated in 2007, the Hammers who had just pulled off ‘The Great Escape‘ came calling. At the time Alan Curbishley was the manager and convinced the striker to fly home from his holiday early in order to get a transfer done.
Bent agreed and flew back and even travelled to Upton Park for his medical after the clubs had agreed to a fee for the player. It was at this point that Bent has testified that the transfer process went belly up.
"“When I went and I left Charlton I had a medical at West Ham I was at the stadium at Upton Park when Curbishley was there, but the little bald fella, the owner, who was the little bald fella? He put me off. That’s why I never signed,”“I came back from Miami early, because Curbishley was like ‘let’s get it done’ so I flew back early, so I was knackered, and he said to me, ‘you either sign the contract now, or don’t bother coming back.’ I said ‘alright’.”Bent said about his failed West Ham transfer."
The previous owner of the Hammers, Eggert Magnusson, made many mistakes during his time in charge of the club. These mistakes were usually in the shape of signing injury-prone player’s on big contracts such as Freddie Lunjberg and Keiran Dyer. But putting Bent off of a move to the club could be up there with one of his worst.
At the time Bent was one of the best strikers in the Premier League and was breaking into the England squad. The Hammers, however, were looking for another attacker after, Teddy Sheringham, Marlon Harewood and the controversial striker Carlos Tevez left the club.
Curbishley did have Dean Ashton and Bobby Zamora at his disposal, but injury concerns meant that another option was crucially needed. Despite the managers best efforts Bent would not be the one and ended up signing for London rivals Tottenham Hotspur later in the month.
Bent went on to have an excellent Premier League career the striker scored 106 goals in 277 appearances in the League. The Hammers, however, ended up signing winger/second striker Craig Bellamy from Liverpool for £10.8 million, a good signing yes, but left for Manchester City just as he was hitting his peak.
The Hammers also signed Henri Camera on loan from Wigan, but the less said about, the better. West Ham finished tenth in the Premier League after missing out on Bent. Ashton was the club’s top goalscorer with ten, and Bellamy only managed two goals in the Premier League.
Bent, on the other hand, scored eight goals and assisted five more in his debut campaign for Spurs who qualified for the UEFA Cup as a result. If the Hammers had managed to secure the signing of Bent, they would have been able to team him up with Ashton, and that would have been a deadly striker combo, what could have been eh?