Bent to take pay cut to force Toon move
Darren Bent is ready to accept a pay cut in order to speed up his departure from Aston Villa and resurrect his career at Newcastle United, ESPN understands.
Preliminary contact between the two clubs has been made, with Newcastle boss Alan Pardew interested in linking up with a player he first managed during his spell in charge of Charlton Athletic.
Pardew is in the process of trying to convince Magpies owner Mike Ashley to back his decision of offering Bent the chance of a fresh start, with Villa ready to accept a bid in the region of £6 million for the 29-year-old.
ESPN understands that the England international would relish the opportunity to move to St James’ Park, despite his previous association with bitter rivals Sunderland, while he also accepts that any deal will involve a significant reduction of his £65,000-a-week salary at Villa Park.
Bent has held talks with Villa, making it clear that he is not prepared to sit on the substitutes’ bench for another season, and wants a fresh start away from the club, given that the World Cup in Brazil is just 12 months away.
The Midlands side 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 £18 million 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 £6 million, or possibly less, as part of his continued policy of reducing the club's wage bill.
Fulham manager Martin Jol is also keen on signing Bent and registered his interest several months ago, while the striker was enduring a frustrating season as a peripheral figure
Villa boss Paul Lambert is clearly planning for life without Bent next season after completing a £2.5 million deal for Lech Poznan winger Aleksandar Tonev and persuading Andreas Weimann to sign a new contract.
Denmark international striker Nicklas Helenius is expected to be added to the list of new arrivals in the next ten days from Aalborg BK, while Christian Benteke's agent is set for further talks with the club regarding the future of his client.
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 good piece of business.