Bentley has made only three appearances this term and is well down the pecking order at White Hart Lane, encouraging Birmingham to believe there is a chance of agreeing a short-term deal for the former England international.
Bentley, who has played only 102 minutes of Premier League football this season, has done little to convince Harry Redknapp he is worth retaining. The Spurs manager would be happy to offload a player who cost £15m when he signed from Blackburn Rovers in 2008, although the club's desire to recoup that transfer fee in full has discouraged potential suitors.
Tottenham, however, could be persuaded to allow Bentley to leave on loan to free up a space in their squad. Redknapp named the full complement of 25 senior players on the list he submitted to the Premier League at the start of September. Jonathan Woodgate's name was omitted because of injury but the central defender is now returning to fitness, presenting Redknapp with a potential problem even before he considers whether he would like to make any new signings next month.
Should Bentley become available on loan, Birmingham are likely to face competition from a number of Premier League clubs. Mark Hughes, the Fulham manager, was in charge at Blackburn where Bentley flourished after leaving Arsenal and he would be keen to work with the 26-year-old again. Everton have also been linked with a loan move for Bentley.
Alex McLeish, the Birmingham manager, has targeted Bentley as he looks to improve his options on the flanks at a time when Sebastian Larsson's future at the club remains in the balance. Larsson is out of contract in the summer and Birmingham are no closer to reaching an agreement with the winger about signing a new deal.
McLeish, meanwhile, is keen to extend Birmingham's excellent record at St Andrew's when Arsenal visit tomorrow. Birmingham have suffered only one defeat in 28 in all competitions at home and have held Arsenal on their last two visits after scoring late equalisers, just as they did against Manchester United on Tuesday night. "Everyone looks to the big teams as bonus points. But I think here at St Andrew's I'm expecting us to be getting points against anybody," the Birmingham manager said. "We hope to take Arsenal's scalp this weekend and take a much-needed three points."McLeish said he took great encouragement from Arsène Wenger's long list of complaints at the end of last season's 1-1 draw, when the Arsenal manager bemoaned the state of the pitch and claimed Birmingham were only capable of scoring via a long ball. "I did [take that as a compliment], absolutely. I knew that psychologically that had an effect," McLeish said. "We know Arsenal are capable of turning anybody over on their day but if they feel a wee bit apprehensive that can give us a couple of per cent edge."
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
Have something to tell us about this article?