- Premier League
Newcastle set to end Bent's Villa nightmare
Darren Bent is ready to accept a pay-cut to speed up his departure from Aston Villa for the chance to ressurect his career at Newcastle United.
Preliminary contact between Villa and Newcastle has been made regarding Alan Pardew's interest in linking up with the England international he first managed during his spell as Charlton Athletic boss.
Pardew is in the process of trying to convince Newcastle owner Mike Ashley to back his decision to offer Bent the chance of a fresh start with Villa ready to accept an offer in the region of £6 million for the 29-year-old.
ESPN understands Bent would relish the opportunity to move to Newcastle, despite his previous association with bitter rivals Sunderland and accepts that any deal will involve a significant reduction of his £65,000-a-week salary at Villa Park.
He has held talks with Villa and made it clear he is not prepared to sit on the substitutes bench for another season and wants a fresh start away from the club, especially with the World Cup in Rio looming in around 12 months.
Villa are unlikely to stand in the way of any deal and are also ready to cut their losses on the striker who cost them an initial £18m from Sunderland in January 2011.
They accept they will have to take a significant reduction on their huge outlay on Bent, but American owner Randy Lerner is prepared to accept a figure of around £6m, possibly less as part of his continued policy of reducing the club's wage bill.
Fulham manager Martin Jol is also interested in signing Bent and registered his interest several months ago, while Bent was enduring a frustrating season sat on the bench for Paul Lambert's side.
Lambert is clearly planning for life without Bent next season after completing a £2.5million deal for Lech Poznan winger Aleksandar Tonev and persuading Andreas Weimann to sign a new contract.
Denmark international striker is expected to be added to the list of new arrivals in the next ten days from Aalborg BK and Christian Benteke's agent is due for further talks on the future of the Belgian striker in the next few days.
Newcastle desperately require attacking options after a poor campaign last season, which saw them lose Demba Ba to Chelsea and Pardew is confident he can persuade Ashley that a cut-price Bent with a point to prove would be a sound piece of business