Former Sunderland striker Bent sets sights on Newcastle United switch

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FORMER Sunderland striker Darren Bent has not given up hope of securing a move to Newcastle.

The chances of Bent joining the Magpies had seemingly receded over the past fortnight, with the club unwilling to go anywhere near Aston Villa’s £6million valuation.

Bent’s reported £75,000-a-week pay packet is also a problem for a club which operates a strict wage policy.

But the 29-year-old – who is also wanted by Fulham and Crystal Palace – is still understood to be hopeful he can be reunited with Alan Pardew, who worked with him earlier in his career at Charlton.

Newcastle’s director of football, Joe Kinnear, is under increasing pressure to deliver two more signings in this summer’s transfer window.

London-based Kinnear – who was on Tyneside last week – pledged to bring in the players Pardew needs after his controversial return to St James’s Park in June. However, the only acquisition so far has been forward Loic Remy, who has joined on a £2m season-long loan from relegated QPR.

A move for Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis has been shelved because of a dispute over the fees payable to agents involved in the deal.

And it’s unlikely that Pardew will have a new signing available for Monday’s Premier League opener at Manchester City, with Remy sidelined through injury.

Bent has no future at Villa, who paid Sunderland £18m for his services in January 2011. Villa are looking to recoup as much of that fee as possible, and a £4m Fulham bid was rejected this month.

Palace, meanwhile, have offered to take the England international on loan and pay £40,000 of his weekly wage.

While the Selhurst Park club are keen for a deal to be done before Sunday’s clash with Tottenham, Bent could opt to keep his options open. The transfer window closes on September 2.

Meanwhile, Remy could be a month away from his Newcastle debut because of a calf problem.

“Remy is still on the road to recovery,” said Pardew. “Man City will come too soon, and so might West Ham and Fulham. It’s becoming increasingly likely he will be unavailable – he’s not kicked a ball yet, and only been running.”

With Remy – who came close to joining United in January – having not had a proper pre-season at QPR, Pardew and his staff will err on the side of caution.

Jonas Gutierrez (leg injury) is a doubt for Monday’s Etihad Stadium clash.