Newcastle, Crystal Palace may move for Aston Villa striker

Richard Heathcote

After thinking that Fulham had the Darren Bent signing wrapped up on Friday, we're now suddenly in a three-team battle for the striker.

As recently as Friday, we were hearing that Newcastle United had fallen out of the bidding war for Darren Bent. This left Fulham as the only interested party for the striker's services. But my how a weekend can change things. Fulham have yet to submit an acceptable bid to Aston Villa and Newcastle have re-joined the fray, reportedly holding discussions with Bent's agent. If Newcastle were holding talks without Aston Villa's permission, they'd be subject to disciplinary actions, so I think it's safe to assume Aston Villa are encouraging this behavior (the other possible assumption - that Newcastle are just heinously stupid - cannot be ruled out).

To make matters more interesting, Crystal Palace, one of the Premiership's newly promoted teams, have also expressed interest in acquiring Darren Bent's help for the coming campaign. If the London club are serious about their participation in the battle for Bent, we could see the transfer fee actually hit the £6 million mark for which Villa have been asking all along.

In the span of fewer than 70 hours, we've got from accepting the fact that a less-than-desirable Fulham bid would win Bent to a three-way bidding war. I don't want to be too harsh here, but this may be the most excitement Bent has provided us since he came to the club. He's a fine player who will fit in somewhere. I just hope all three clubs think he'll fit best with them and drive the price up a bit.

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