Report: £15m Bent wanted by Liverpool

According to the London Evening Standard , Liverpool have entered the "race" to sign Darren Bent from Charlton Athletic.

The paper says that the England international's club have now put a £15m fee forward as their valuation for the player, who'll be keen to leave after Charlton were relegated to the Championship. The paper also says that Spurs and West Ham are in the running for the player, and that they believe he would prefer a move to Spurs. Of course West Ham are still effectively under threat of relegation, although that seems unlikely now despite potential legal action being considered by Sheffield United.

Charlton's attitude is that despite their relegation they will not accept a low fee for the player, meaning they want Tottenham to go away and reconsider their reported £10m bid for the striker and West Ham their reported £12m bid.

In fact it's possible that the link with Liverpool has come about because Charlton want to see both clubs up their bids, in what is now going to be a typical game of summer transfer poker. Chances are Charlton couldn't afford to keep Bent with the drop in their income, but Bent isn't obliged to leave. He can choose any of the clubs that come in for him then dig his heels in waiting for the move he wants – the way Michael Owen was meant to do two years ago when leaving Real!

Charlton were reported to have turned down a bid of £18m from West Ham in January during a spending spree to try and stave off relegation. Charlton did not want to assist one of their main rivals in the fight to avoid the drop hence their decision not to accept an offer that’s unlikely to be matched.

With Liverpool supposedly added to the list of interested clubs both London sides need to decide if they believe the links, then need to make a bid closer to what would be their final offer. It's no secret that Rafa is looking to buy new strikers, with Robbie Fowler certainly leaving and Craig Bellamy looking almost certain to go, but if Rafa has £15m to spend on Bent then he’s got £15m to spend on one of those targets from overseas that he’s more interested in.

Bent scored 13 times for Charlton this season.