Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has slammed former striker Darren Bent and his new employers Aston Villa.
Leading goalscorer Bent shocked the Black Cats by handing in a transfer request at the weekend, before being quickly sold to Villa for a reported £18m fee.
And Bruce believes the 26-year-old was contacted by Villa before an official approach was made to Sunderland for the seven-time England cap’s services.
He said: “I had a conversation with (chairman) Niall (Quinn), we had this offer which had been in 24 or maybe 48 hours before (Bent was sold), but it was the first really genuine sort of notice that we had heard of.
“I think that obviously they (representatives for Bent and Aston Villa) had had conversations, but that's where it started.
“I spoke to Darren and I spoke to his agent on the Sunday evening, and it was fairly obvious that they had made their mind up and wanted to go. Darren handed in a transfer request dated that night, and that's where it started and that's where it was.
“The disappointing thing for me with Darren was the timing of it. I thought we had averted it last summer, he wanted to go to Turkey last summer and we averted it then. So, it's the timing for me.
“If I'd known four weeks beforehand, or five weeks beforehand from the agent or Darren that they were unhappy at the club or wanted to move on then I wouldn't be in the position that I am now, with 10 days before the window ends, with the injury to Danny Welbeck, that has put us in the situation that we are in.
“So it has given us very little time to try and do anything. So it's the timing of it that's the disappointing thing.
“All Benty has thought of is himself but I suppose that's football and that's the way it is.”
And Bruce also criticised Villa counterpart Gerard Houllier, adding: “My big disappointment is Gerard Houllier too. Up until now we still haven't had a phone call from him.
“I would have thought out of respect, from a manager of his status, I would have thought maybe a call from him, saying 'Look, here's the situation, we are after your centre forward' might have been the way forward. It usually is with the great managers I've had the pleasure to deal with in the past.”