Date:Tuesday June 19 2007
The Hammers thought they had clinched a deal for the 23-year-old until he had a last-minute change of heart.
The move was that close that Hammers owner Eggert Magnusson had even released a statement saying his club was close to announcing a new major signing that would break the clubs transfer record.
Charlton had accepted a bid from Alan Curbishley`s club thought to be £17m plus midfielder Hayden Mullins. Bent was then given permission to discuss personal terms but he decided not to move to Upton Park.
'We set a valuation for Darren and West Ham were the only club prepared to meet that valuation,' said Charlton chief executive Peter Varney.
'This morning we gave them permission to speak to Darren, which he did, and he has decided not to join West Ham.'
The Addicks, who were relegated from the top flight last season, now expect Bent to stay with them.
'We look forward to Darren starting with us in the Championship next season, which is a massive boost to our chance of returning to the Premier League.'
A West Ham spokesman confirmed the deal was not moving forward, adding: 'A fee had been agreed between West Ham and Charlton but it was not possible to reach an agreement with the player.
'West Ham have been considering a number of options in terms of a new striker for the club and will now be pursuing alternatives.'
Spurs and Liverpool are now set to battle it out to try and win the signature of our clubs prized asset.
Quotes from: www.cafc.co.uk www.whufc.com
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