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OPINION: Controversial... could Sunderland do worse than signing Darren Bent on a free transfer?

I know, I know... my tin hat is firmly placed on my head when saying this, but think about it - we need another striker, he’s free, and is experienced at playing at a high level. Could Sunderland do worse than offering Darren Bent a short-term deal?

Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Now I know some of you are probably disgusted just thinking about the prospect of seeing Darren Bent back in red and white stripes... but if you place footballing reasons and our chances of being promoted as your priority, you may be able to see why signing the veteran forward has its positives. Let’s be honest, if he added goals that led to us winning the league or cup this year, would you really still be angry that he left seven years ago?

For me this is a no-brainer. Bent scores goals and has done so throughout his career. Admittedly, at 34 he is not the player he once was, but at this level in games where we are crying out for a goalscorer to come on and add some extra late in games, there probably aren’t many better free agents out there in Darren Bent.

During ten seasons within his career Bent has hit double figures, and alongside Jermain Defoe and Kevin Phillips he’s one of Sunderland’s most prolific goalscorers in the Premier League era.

Manchester United v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

From a footballing perspective, signing Bent would be fairly risk free on a short-term deal and he would have to accept lower wages being a free agent who needs a club. Rather than signing a young forward on loan, I would much rather the club add someone who has proven quality and the experience that we arguably lack in attacking areas.

Of course, it is a gamble like any transfer deal, but if Bent showed a desire to play for the club he could play an important part in Sunderland potentially winning anything this season.

Whilst this move is not something Roker Report expects the club to do - as he is not believed to be on our current list of transfer targets - it is argued by many that Sunderland do need one extra striker.

The biggest stumbling block with this potential move is the relationship between Bent and the Sunderland faithful. Not many supporters - including myself - have forgiven him for the manner in which he left us the first time around.

Bent played his best football at Sunderland scoring 36 goals in 63 games before leaving to sign for Aston Villa for a fee rising to £24 million.

Sunderland v Birmingham City - Premier League Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images

Because to many the move was motivated by money rather than footballing reasons, Bent has received constant stick at the Stadium of Light and many believe he would have prospered further should he have stayed put.

Regardless of that, this move would be a chance for Bent to redeem himself in the minds of Sunderland fans.

At the end of the day, we all want to see Sunderland AFC be successful this season - whether that be through finding promotion, or enjoying a day out at Wembley as the Lads lift the Checkatrade Trophy.

If Darren Bent scored goals that helped us to achieve our goals this year, I would rather enjoy the thrills this season brings rather than be bitter about the past that cannot be changed.

An experienced poacher happy to accept he is not first choice is Sunderland’s best option right now, and will be necessary when you consider we have at least 51 games to play this season with cup matches included.

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