Darren Bent claims Jamie Carragher tried to convince him to sign for Liverpool – but suggests the Reds were put off by his transfer fee.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are riding the crest of a wave having ended their 30-year wait for a domestic league title. That followed Champions League glory the previous season – halcyon days for their supporters.
Much of their success is credited to their sporting director Michael Edwards, who time and again seems to strike gold in the transfer market.
Edwards was the man who negotiated Philippe Coutinho’s £142m move to Barcelona; the money reinvested in Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker.
Edwards’ team was also behind the decision to sign Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
Skip back 10 years though and Liverpool were a club in turmoil. The ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett was heading for the courts, while Roy Hodgson had just been appointed manager.
Their recruitment was a little all over the place too.
At the time, Bent had just netted a career-high 25 goals for Sunderland. It was his first season at the Stadium of Light and led to interest from a host of big clubs.
Indeed, Liverpool were one of those who considered a move, if Bent’s recollection of events is accurate.
“There was one particular time; I’d just finished my first season for Sunderland and it had gone really well
‘Bloody hell, it’s Liverpool Football Club’
Recalling how the conversation unfolded, the 13-times capped England striker added: “It wasn’t a conversation like, ‘we need to get you there’. It was kind of like, ‘it would be good if you came, you did really well in your first season, you’re probably a little bit too expensive for us’.
“I was like, ‘bloody hell!’. It’s Liverpool Football Club, you’ve got to jump at the chance.
“I ended up staying at Sunderland, I didn’t go anywhere. Maybe Benitez didn’t see eye-to-eye with Carragher in the signing!
“That’s usually what happens.”
Bent’s account, may indeed be correct. That summer Benitez was heading out the Anfield exit door, with Hodgson appointed in his place.
Bent retired in 2018 after a career that spawned 217 goals in 568 appearances.