FORMER Sunderland hero Darren Bent has been linked with a possible move to Newcastle United.
The Dail Mail suggests that the Magpies have shown an interest in the former England striker, whose career has nose-dived since controversially leaving the Stadium of Light in the 2011 January transfer window.
At 29, Bent still has much to offer and his goals ratio at Villa Park has remained good – 21 goal in 45 starts and nine substitute appearances.
But injuries and an apparent rift between him and management at Aston Villa has seen him make less than 50 league starts for the club in two-and-a-half years.
And Villa are rumoured to be ready to take a massive hit on a player who has no part to play in manager Paul Lambert’s plan - the club ready to accept bids of £6million for a player who cost them £24million to buy from the Black Cats.
The £6million fee would not be beyond Newcastle but owner Mike Ashley would baulk at the £70,000 a week wages Bent engineered in his move to the West Midlands.
Ashley, like most other Premier League club owners, is seeking to reduce expenditure, particularly on transfer fees and wage bills and unless Bent was prepared to take a huge hit on pay, the move is likely to be a non-starter.
Although the story comes as a surprise and is bound to be a talking point among Newcastle and Sunderland fans, it could well be that the Bent to Newcastle tale is a fishing expedition, floated to flush out other potential buyers and alert them to the cut-price tag now being offered on the fallen star.