Newcastle's Alan Pardew is keen to reunite with Darren Bent - with whom he worked at Charlton - and may be making a bid sometime this week for the Aston Villa record signing. According to Mat Kendrick, Bent is Pardew's first choice as a striker to bring in during the summer transfer window. Rather surprisingly, wages don't seem to be the stumbling block for Newcastle, but rather they hope to convince Aston Villa to part with the striker for less than what Paul Lambert values him at.
Villa are supposedly asking £8 million, but they aren't in a great position to hold other clubs to that number, as Paul Lambert has made it clear that Bent has no future with the club. This isn't a Christian Benteke situation, where Aston Villa don't mind holding onto a player. Bent's time in Birmingham is done, and the club should be happy to get anything they can for him, especially if it comes at the price of not handling any of the player's wages. Newcastle also have the advantage of apparently being interested in a French striker who may be favored by their director of football Joe Kinnear.
I can't imagine that Villa are actually going to get what they ask for Bent, but something around £6 million wouldn't be all that surprising. Their priority at this point should be getting anything at all for Bent, and if Newcastle are offering, the club should jump. Bent was useful when he first came here, and he still may be useful to another club. But he doesn't fit in Paul Lambert's system, and keeping him around accomplishes nothing. Make the deal, Villa.