EXCLUSIVE

Darren Bent admits he is baffled by Southampton’s decision to sell Matt Targett to Aston Villa but insists it is a great signing for Dean Smith.

The former Villa and England star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, revealed his surprise at the Villans’ ability to secure the full-back’s signing from the Saints, believing that the pair will be fighting for the same positions in the league next season.

Targett, who came through the youth ranks in a 15-year spell at Southampton, swapped the south coast for the midlands for an undisclosed fee at the start of July.

Bent insists it is an excellent capture for his old club but questions why Southampton would be willing to sell to a team he sees as a direct rival in the Premier League.

“He is an exciting one, it quite surprised me that Southampton let him go,” Bent told Football Insider.

“It really surprised me – he’s young, he’s exciting and the fact that they let him go to Villa, I now see Villa and Southampton in that same kind of bracket where they could be amongst each other in the table.

“Them selling to each other, it’s a bit strange, but yeah, it’s a great signing for Aston Villa. Again, Dean Smith doing his homework, identifying players he wants in the job, and it’s going to be really exciting for Villa.”

Targett has a total of 43 Premier League appearances under his belt, 16 of those coming last season.

He has also spent time on loan with Fulham, helping the Cottagers to play-off success with a half-season loan back in 2018.

In other Aston Villa news, Danny Mills has tipped one of the club’s star performers to demand a £40million fee in the next year.