Newcastle keen on Aston Villa striker Darren Bent, but not his £6m valuation and £70,000-a-week wages

The 29-year-old striker interested in return to the north-east

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The Independent Football

The financial terms of any deal involving Darren Bent will have to be lowered if the player is to move to Newcastle.

Newcastle have shown an initial interest in signing the 29-year-old striker during the current close season, and the player himself is keen to move to St James' Park.

However, the £70,000-a-week deal he signed to move to Villa Park when he left Sunderland in 2011 is out of the club's strict salary structure and they are also believed to be unkeen on Villa's £6m asking price for someone of Bent's age.

That Newcastle are considering a move for the England forward is significant, given the recruitment strategy in recent seasons has relied upon finding players around or beneath the age of 25 who would retain a future sell-on fee. They have also generally steered clear of the domestic market because of the high transfers associated with English players.

This time, however, there could be a dilution of that stance in order to add a forward with goal-scoring prowess to their squad.

Bent has worked with the Newcastle manager Alan Pardew before, at Charlton Athletic, where he enjoyed one of the most prolific periods of his career. The Newcastle manager remains a fan of the player, despite Bent enduring two difficult seasons at Villa Park, following his £24m move from Sunderland.

The striker struggled for starts at Aston Villa last season under Paul Lambert, who preferred the Belgian forward Christian Benteke, who scored 19 Premier League goals in his first season in England.

Bent had hoped his move to Aston Villa, when Gerard Houllier was in charge, would cement his place in the England squad. He had scored 36 goals in 63 games for Sunderland and left when a new deal could not be negotiated and Villa offered such a hefty fee.

Now Bent is eager to return to the north-east with rivals Newcastle. Fulham are also believed to have shown interest in a player who has already played for three clubs in the capital.

Newcastle currently rely solely on Papiss Cisse as their main centre forward following the sale of Demba Ba to Chelsea in January. The Senegalese forward's future is uncertain as he seeks a pay increase after telling the club he does not want to wear the Wonga sponsorship logo next season.

Pardew admitted at the close of last season that he wants at least two forwards to add more firepower to his team.


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