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Darren departs in record deal

England international Darren Bent has joined Tottenham Hotspur in a deal worth up to 16.5m, Charlton announced on Friday morning.

Darren Bent celebrates a Charlton goal in what became time honoured fashion

The Addicks will receive a club record fee for the striker, the club's top scorer for the past two seasons. Spurs will pay an initial 15.5m, with a further 1m dependent on a number of contingencies.

"I'd like to place on the record my appreciation for Darren's efforts on behalf of the club over the past two seasons, said Charlton plc chairman Richard Murray.

"He's been a model professional during his time at Charlton. He has been a pleasure to work with and has always represented the club magnificently, both at domestic and international level.

He added: "Realistically, it was always going to be difficult to hang on to a player of his quality following relegation, but we feel we have negotiated the best deal possible for the club and, after a payment to Ipswich, it's a sum of money that will cushion the effects of relegation for the club.

Bent joined Charlton in May 2004, when then manager Alan Curbishley paid an initial 2.5m to Ipswich Town.

The figure rose by a further 100,000 after his 40th appearance for the Addicks and could have risen to 3m had Bent played any senior competitive matches for England.

Despite Friday's record sale, which eclipses the 10m Chelsea paid Charlton for Scott Parker in January 2004, Charlton will not get the entire 15.5m sum.

Ipswich are entitled to 20 per cent of the profit made by Charlton on the player under a sell-on clause agreed with the Tractor Boys - meaning an initial payment of 2.58m will be heading to Portman Road.

Bent tackles new teammate, Spurs' Pascal Chimbonda

However, the sum will enable the club to better balance its books following relegation to the Championship in May.

Under Iain Dowie, Charlton invested more than 11m last summer - using part of the coming 2007/08 season's transfer budget in the process - and since January Pardew has also purchased the likes of Madjid Bougherra, Luke Varney, Paddy McCarthy, Ben Thatcher, Yassin Moutaouakil and Martin Christensen for upwards of 5.5m. Chris Iwelumo has also been recruited on a free transfer, along with Jose Semedo.

Bent, who was handed the captain's armband by Pardew soon after the manager's Valley arrival in late December, scored 37 goals in 79 league and cup games for Charlton.

He was named player of the year in his debut season, when he finished as the country's leading English-born scorer in the top flight and made his debut for England, although many were surprised when the forward missed out on Sven Goran Eriksson's 2006 World Cup party.

Earlier this month Charlton agreed a fee for the 23-year-old forward with West Ham United, but Bent decided not to join the Hammers.

The transfer is the second piece of player activity for the Addicks in the space of 24 hours, with manager Alan Pardew snapping up out-of-contract midfielder Matt Holland on a one-year deal on Thursday.


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