Aston Villa release Darren Bent and Irish full-back Enda Stevens

Villa have also offered Ron Vlaar a new contract

Aston Villa have offered a new contract to defender Ron Vlaar but released striker Darren Bent, the club have confirmed.

Enda Stevens will also leave the club having made nine appearances after joining from Shamrock Rovers in January 2012.

The deal to sign Stevens was agreed back in August 2011, but the Republic of Ireland Under-21 remained with the League of Ireland champions to participate in their Europa League campaign.

One of former manager Alex McLeish's first signings, Stevens collected nine appearances in total in claret and blue - including starting against Man Utd in November 2012 in the absence of Joe Bennett and Eric Lichaj.

During his time with us, he spent time on loan at Notts County, Doncaster and Northampton.

Vlaar's current deal expires at the end of the month and boss Tim Sherwood has previously underlined his desire to keep him at Villa Park.

Vlaar admitted after Villa's FA Cup semi-final win over Liverpool in April that Sherwood's appointment as manager had changed things for him at the club and he was considering staying.

The Netherlands international had previously been expected to leave the club he joined from Feyenoord in 2012.

Sherwood had shelved any contract talks with Vlaar until Villa had secured their Barclays Premier League future, with the club eventually finishing 17th.

30-year-old Vlaar has made 88 appearances for Villa and captained the side before being replaced as skipper by Fabian Delph this season.

Southampton were interested in Vlaar last year after he excelled in Holland’s run to the World Cup semi-final, where they lost to Argentina in a penalty shoot-out with Vlaar missing from the spot.

Villa have also confirmed the exit of £24million record signing Bent.

Bent will be released after scoring 25 goals in 72 appearances following a club record transfer from Sunderland in 2011.

He fell out of favour with former manager Paul Lambert and spent time on loan at Brighton and Derby last season with the Rams heavily linked with bringing the striker back to the iPro Stadium this summer.

Bent scored 12 goals in 13 starts for Derby as they missed out on the Sky Bet Championship play-offs.