Fulham are considering lodging a third bid for Darren Bent after seeing a second offer rejected by Aston Villa, despite the fact that the England striker is thought to favour a move to Newcastle United.
The London club, now under the ownership of the car-parts billionaire Shahid Khan, had a £4m bid rejected over the weekend and returned with a restructured offer for a similar amount this week. Villa are seeking at least £6m for a player who was their record signing when moving from Sunderland for £18m two years ago but whose star has fallen to such an extent that he is currently training away from Paul Lambert's first-team squad.
Newcastle's interest in the England forward extends from last season and the manager, Alan Pardew, had been hopeful a deal would be concluded for the 29-year-old, with whom he worked for six months at Charlton in 2007, earlier in the summer. Yet their pursuit appears to have been complicated by Joe Kinnear's appointment as director of football, with talks now apparently pencilled in with Bent's representatives for this week.
Bent is understood to favour working with Pardew again – the manager would intend to use the striker in a slightly more withdrawn role, behind Papiss Cissé – despite his connections with Sunderland, and feels the move would offer him an opportunity to regain an England place before next summer's World Cup finals. Yet given how long it has taken for talks with Newcastle to come to fruition and with the perception that Kinnear's appointment has rather undermined the manager's position, there remains the possibility that Fulham could tempt the former Ipswich and Spurs forward back south, particularly if an increased bid matches Villa's valuation.
Newcastle are still exploring the possibility of taking the France striker Loïc Remy on a season-long loan from relegated Queens Park Rangers, albeit only with the Championship club supplementing a proportion of the forward's £70,000-a-week wage package. They retain an interest, too, in Lyon's Bafétimbi Gomis despite failing with a bid worth almost £7m for the 27-year-old, whose contract has only 12 months to run.
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