Darren Bent rules out Fulham switch as he returns to Aston Villa

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Darren Bent today ruled out a permanent switch to Fulham with Villa saddled with his bumper wages for another season.

The £24m striker will not stay in London after the Cottagers were relegated from the Premier League. He scored just six goals in 30 games last term after moving to Craven Cottage on loan.

Bent earns around £60,000-a-week but Fulham had agreed to pay all of the cash during his spell. The 30-year-old has another year left on his Villa contract and the claret and blues are now braced to shell out for the misfit again.

"I've enjoyed my time down here but obviously it hasn't gone well," said Bent. "I haven't played as much football as I would have liked.

"When I first came here I hoped it was going to be a case of playing fairly regularly, but it just wasn't meant to be. "

Villa are also still paying Alan Hutton £40,000-a-week and Charles N'Zogbia £60,000 with neither in manager Paul Lambert's plans. Bent will not play for Villa while Lambert is in charge and is now looking for a new club.

Bent's return gives Villa another headache with talks in New York between chairman Randy Lerner and Lambert continuing today.

Lerner has put the club up for sale and the pair, along with chief executive Paul Faulkner, are thrashing out a short-term plan.

Lambert is willing to continue as manager but is seeking assurances he will not get all of the blame if Villa continue to struggle.

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