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Transfer Rater: Iker Casillas to Liverpool


Darren Bent in limbo as Villa wait

Neither Fulham nor Newcastle United have made what Aston Villa consider to be an acceptable offer for striker Darren Bent, ESPN has been told.

Darren Bent has been sidelined by injury
Bent has been frozen out at Villa Park.

- Hughes: A bitter end

Villa say they are yet to receive any offer that would persuade them to allow Bent - who has been frozen out of the first-team picture under Paul Lambert - to leave.

Club sources told ESPN that, contrary to reports, Fulham had not returned with an increased £6 million offer for the England striker after seeing an initial bid of around £4 million rejected at the weekend.

And they said Newcastle could face action for an illegal approach should any meeting between Bent's advisers and Magpies director of football Joe Kinnear take place.

At the start of the summer, Villa were understood to value Bent at around £10 million as they looked to recoup a significant portion of the £18 million paid to Sunderland for him over two years ago.

That figure is now believed to been lowered, and the Midlanders are awaiting developments.

Reports earlier this week suggested Kinnear planned to discuss the situation with Bent's representatives - and Villa would be swift to report the club to the Premier League and the Football Association should any such meeting take place.

Kinnear has no mandate from Villa to hold any negotiations, and they believe he would be in breach of regulations should he press ahead without permission.

Bent would prefer a move to the North-East and a link-up with his former Charlton manager Alan Pardew, who has made it clear to Kinnear that he is a key target.

The striker has told friends he wants the situation resolved as soon as possible, and would be prepared to move to Fulham if the Newcastle option falls through.

Kinnear has been pursuing other targets, including Queens Park Rangers' Loic Remy, because it is thought Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is reluctant to spend heavily on Bent, who would have little resale value.

However, an official £6 million offer from either Newcastle or Fulham would trigger discussions between Lerner and Lambert.

Despite spending last season on the sidelines, Bent has still not given up hope of forcing his way into England manager Roy Hodgson's plans for next summer's World Cup. He is understoodto be willing to take a pay cut to help a move go through.


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