Newcastle are desperate for some stability from their forwards. The initial plan was to bring in Loic Remy, who just had a successful loan campaign with the Magpies. But Remy has indicated his desire to play in Europe and Liverpool and Arsenal have come calling. It's time for Plan B for Pardew, and that seems to be Darren Bent.
Bent had 30 appearances with Fulham this year and scored 6 goals, but Aston Villa are eager to get him off of their books. His £60,000 per week wages are a drag on the club's attempts to be sustainable, and he doesn't really fit in the system that Lambert has created. Bent can still be an effective player, but his inability to create much means that he must receive consistent service to score goals, and Villa aren't really set up to provide that.
The good news for Newcastle is that Bent certainly won't cost the £24 million he set Villa back when he arrived in 2011. I've seen £4 million tossed around on a number of websites, but the main incentive to Villa is not to recoup costs but rather to remove Bent from the wage bill. It's hard to see them saying "no" to any reasonable offer.
Encouragingly, Newcastle are the second club–after Crystal Palace–who seem to have some interest in Bent. Maybe if a market develops, Villa can get another one or two million out of him. Given what the cub have received from Bent lately, that'd be a great return.