The 31-year-old didn't light any fires while on loan at Brighton, nor was he thriving at Villa at the time.
But a key factor in Bent's Aston Villa future - as it has been with the revival of the club as a whole - is the appointment of Tim Sherwood.
Sherwood has revitalised a number of individual performers at Villa Park and could surely do the same with Bent if given the chance. A remarkable statistic, meanwhile, suggests the experienced striker could be worth the risk.
|Minutes per Goal||Appearances||Minutes Played|
Indeed, as Opta stats show, Bent's goalscoring at Derby sees his average of minutes per goal better that of any Aston Villa striker (or indeed player).
Bent, too, is top of the standings within the Derby squad in terms of his finishing and even trumps Christian Benteke in this department, the form striker in the Premier League.
Of course, the Villa man would have to prove himself in the top flight - but he may well do under Sherwood.
The 31-year-old's contract expires this summer but he says he would be interested in signing a new deal with Aston Villa (or Derby), according to the Birmingham Mail. The stats show he may be worth a gamble - and what about if Benteke leaves Villa Park this summer...?