Darren Bent heads to Aston Villa after shocking Sunderland with a transfer request, and Steven Pienaar leaves Merseyside to join Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham. Apart from the much anticipated arrival of Edin Dzeko at Manchester City, these are the two most significant moves in the transfer window so far.

They might not be players considered in the same bracket as Dzeko, but they are proven Premier League performers, and could have an impact on both ends of the table in the final reckoning.

Darren Bent

The £24 million (depending on results and player performance) Villa have shelled out on Bent won’t seem so much when his goals inevitably saves them from relegation.

With service from the likes of Ashley Young, Stewart Downing and a selfless partner in Gabriel Agbonlahor, I think Bent will thrive and reach double figures again.

And here’s a crazy stat for you – in the six years Bent’s been in the Premier League, only two players have been more prolific than Bent – Wayne Rooney and Didier Drogba. Bent has found the net 81 times in the league since Charlton Athletic signed him, just one short of Rooney and Drogba’s equal tally of 82.

Considering how close the league is at the moment, those goals will be the difference between a relegation scrap and a mid-table finish.

What I don’t get is why Bent would leave Sunderland, who are currently in sixth place, just outside the spots for European competition; and who have massively promising players such as recent England call-up Jordan Henderson, Lee Cattermole and Asamoah Gyan. Villa on the other hand, are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference.

But Bent could be the missing link at Villa, the focal point that could bring out the best from the currently struggling English trio of Downing, Young and Agbonlahor. Perhaps the possibility of having to play second-fiddle to Gyan at Sunderland, knowing that he operates better as a lone striker, was what convinced him to make the move.

Steven Pienaar

The South African has been in impressive form for Everton. He’s a tough little player, but with plenty of skill on the ball. He almost never loses the ball in midfield, you can always count on him to pick out a good final ball in the attacking third, and he will chip in with his fair share of goals.

With a player of his quality on their books, Tottenham Hotspur’s push for European football looks much stronger. And at £3million, for a player reaching his peak at 28, Pienaar is a steal.

As a player capable of playing in both wide midfield positions, he can provide cover and a different option to both Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon. And considering how Redknapp has reinvented Luka Modric into one of the best central midfielders in the league, he could very well use Pienaar in that position as well.

That however, does not bode well for the futures of fringe players like Jermaine Jenas, Giovanni Dos Santos and Niko Kranjcar.

Like Alex Ferguson recently pointed out – it’s hard to see them finishing in the top four this year, but having Pienaar around will most definitely help them stay, at the very least, in their current fifth spot which would take them into the Europa League.

Pienaar’s signing however, did represent a major psychological victory for Redknapp, considering the player chose Spurs over fourth-placed Chelsea. With their own version of Pienaar, Yossi Benayoun, currently out injured, Chelsea were hoping to add Pienaar’s creativity to their midfield; so Redknapp will be doubly pleased to have thrown off Chelsea’s plans a bit.

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