Aston Villa latest: Including Bent future and fitness boosts

A round up of the latest news stories and transfer rumours connected to Aston Villa.

Newcastle United and Fulham remain locked in a fight to sign Aston Villa forward Darren Bent. Bent is one of the highest wage earners at Villa Park and a fee of around £6 million has been quoted for the striker. His departure would ease the wage bill and allow the forward to move on and find more regular football.

Fulham probably just have the edge in the race to sign him, with reports suggesting Bent’s agent has not been impressed by the conduct of Newcastle’s Director of Football Joe Kinnear.

However, Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has said Bent is still very much on the club’s radar, which means they could revitalise their attempts to sign him despite an apparently poor meeting between Kinnear, Bent and his agent.

In transfer news not to do with Darren Bent, full back Alan Hutton’s move to Real Mallorca in Spain could now be in doubt. The move could fall through after Mallorca said Hutton had started making demands, which they’re not able to match meaning he could find himself an outcast at Villa Park.

Barry Bannan’s move to Blackburn Rovers is also in doubt after talks between the two clubs broke down. Blackburn made a bid for the midfielder, which was accepted and it’s unclear as to why the deal seems to have broken down.

Away from transfer news, the club has been given a boost with the news that Aleksandar Tonev and Jores Okore are expected to return to training tomorrow. Both players have been carrying injuries since Aston Villa’s first pre-season game away in Germany, but they are due to return two weeks before the start of the season.

Paul Lambert has spoken of his excitement over Aston Villa’s strike force heading into the new season, following ten goals in two friendly matches against Crewe and Walsall.

“I think we’ll always get goals, we’ve definitely got goals in us - It’s important if you can spread the goals around the team too, which we did. It could have been more,” said the Villa boss.

Lambert will also be encouraged by the recent positive comments from defender Antonio Luna, who has said he’s ready for the challenge of the Premier League having moved from Spanish side Sevilla.

“Football here in England is very quick, very rapid. It's a complicated league - I still need to adapt to things, of course, and feel I am all the time, but I believe it's good for me as I feel I have the characteristics to play here,” said Luna.

Leandro Bacuna has joined Luna in looking ahead to the new season, stating he will happily step up and become the regular penalty taker. Bacuna took spot kicks for his previous club FC Groningen.

“If the gaffer wants me to take penalties, I am there for him and the team too,” he said.

image: © wonker

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