Despite protestations from Hull City’s club secretary – Southend United continue to insist that The Tigers have bid £750,000 for their 22-year old goalkeeper Daniel Bentley and that the bid has been turned down.
After the Shrimpers chairman Ron Martin announced the news yesterday, Phil Brown today added: “I’ve sat down with Steve (Bruce), he’s a great manager and a good friend of mine but I don’t want to sell Daniel and neither does the chairman.”
“Steve is after competition for places, just as we are, but I want Daniel to stay to help us try to push for another promotion.
Whether that conversation constitutes a bid is up to the two clubs to argue about but it seems certain that Bruce’s interest in Bentley is genuine given that he watched him in action on Saturday against West Ham in a pre-season friendly.
The Hammers are one of a number of clubs who’ve been credited with an interest in Bentley in the past along with our Championship rivals Brentford, Bristol City, Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and QPR.
It’s easy to see why. Bentley stands six-foot-four, has almost a hundred league games under his belt and was described by his manager Browny as “Schmeichel-esque”. The keeper has been ever-present for two seasons and was a crucial part of Southend’s promotion from League Two last season.
In April he picked up the Football League’s Young Player of the Month award after he kept eight consecutive clean sheets. Ex-Tigers gaffer Browny also speaks very highly of his attitude:
“He’s very focused and has a belief system. The first one on the training ground and the last one away, he is absolutely that professional person. It’s a tell-tale sign that his consistency levels are good but also that he’s good enough to play at this level and if not higher.”
With excellent experience behind him at such a young age, great size, agility and willingness to learn – Bentley would be a sound investment for any Championship club. The only question he has to ask himself is whether his career will stagnate with a spell as a number two when he could be playing every week at Southend.
I think he could be a big success at the KC Stadium. Allan McGregor will start the season as the first choice goalkeeper but with his recent record of injuries and errors, an opportunity may come sooner than Bentley would imagine.