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Magpies face more competition to land Bent
NEWCASTLE UNITED face more competition to sign Darren Bent with Crystal Palace the latest Premier League outfit to show an interest in ending the striker's Aston Villa nightmare.
Palace manager Ian Holloway is preparing his squad for their first season back in the top flight in almost ten years and has identified Bent as someone he feels could help maintain their Premier League status for another year.
The England international has been linked with host of clubs ever since he fell out of favour with Villa boss Paul Lambert, who has banished Bent to train with the youth team until he seals a move away from Villa Park.
Newcastle are one of the clubs linked with a £6m move for the former Sunderland striker and Alan Pardew is very keen on brining him to St James' Park, but they are unwilling to match Villa's current valuation.
Having secured one of their three striking targets in Loic Remy, who joined on a season-long loan from Queens Park Rangers last week, the Magpies have struggled to get a second forward in.
Deals for Bent and Lyon's Bafetimbi Gomis have stalled despite Pardew's eagerness to bolster his attacking ranks and even though Fulham, Stoke City and Norwich City have all show an interest - the former having seen an initial bid rejected by Villa - the 29-year-old remains on the market.
However, Palace, who have already signed Arsenal's Marouane Chamakh, could move into pole position to sign Bent. They are interested in signing the forward on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent deal should they stay in the Premier League, and have expressed a willingness to pay the striker's substantial 65,000-per-week wages in full.
Villa would prefer to sell Bent in order to fund their own summer transfer plans, but with no one willing to pay their £6m asking price, they could find Palace's offer too good to turn down.
Whether Newcastle have explored the option of making their own loan offer remains to be seen, but time is running out for signings to be made before Monday night's season curtain-raiser at Manchester City.
Pardew has urged director of football Joe Kinnear to finalise two more deals, for a forward and left-sided midfielder, put until now he has struggled to get deals over the line.
The Magpies were linked with a move for Genk's prolific striker Jelle Vossen, while Blackburn's £8m Jordan Rhodes has also been mentioned, but neither are likely to join Newcastle this summer.
Lille winger Florian Thauvin, who the Magpies tried to sign last January, is also back on the rader, but it would take a big offer to tempt the Ligue 1 club to seel only six months after signing him.
Yesterday brought reports Pardew has joined the race to sign Ajax defender Toby Alderweireld, who would cost £5m, but with the priority firmly on a striker and midfielder, it is unlikely they will strengthen other areas until top targets have been secured.
Meanwhile, Steven Taylor believes Newcastle have the perfect chance to catch Man City off guard when they visit the Etihad Stadium of Monday night.
It will be Manuel Pellegrini's first competitive game in charge, while several big-name signings, including Fernandinho, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic are also likely to get their first taste of Premier League action, but Taylor believes there is no better time to be playing the former champions.
"We've got Manchester City first game and hopefully we can catch them off guard," the defender told nufc.co.uk.
"That's what you want to play for - it's the whole point of being a professional footballer. The big games are what we look forward to.
"I think what you're going to find on Monday is a fitter Newcastle United team compared to last season, and hopefully we can show that and produce the goods on the pitch.
"As players, along with the manager and staff, we were disappointed with our performances last year. We didn't hit the grade that we wanted to and hopefully this year we can hit the ground running, starting with Man City in the first game."
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