Wednesday media watch [31.07.13 AM]: Bent in focus
Guardian: 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.
The Sun: Joe Kinnear could break his transfer duck by winning the race to sign Darren Bent. Newcastle's new director of football is set to meet the £6million-rated Aston Villa striker's people today to thrash out a deal. Fulham are also interested in the 29-year-old Villa outcast. Kinnear is under growing pressure with Newcastle the only Premier club yet to make a senior signing this summer.
The Mirror: Joe Kinnear hopes to finally end Newcastle's transfer nightmare when he holds talks with Darren Bent. Kinnear, the Magpies' new director of football, is set to meet the Aston Villa striker's representatives on Wednesday in a bid to thrash out a move to Tyneside. Fulham are also in the race to land outcast Bent, who can leave the Villans for £6m - two-and-a-half years after joining them from Sunderland in a club-record £24m deal. Kinnear is under growing pressure as Newcastle are the only Premier League club yet to make a senior-squad signing this summer. With less than three weeks to go to the big kick-off, fans are voicing concerns that the outspoken former Wimbledon boss has so far drawn a blank since his shock arrival last month.
Daily Star: Newcastle are looking to beat Fulham to the signing of wantaway Aston Villa striker Darren Bent. Sporting director Joe Kinnear will meet advisors of the former Tottenham star, hoping to secure a deal before the weekend. QPR forward Loic Remy is another potential target for the club who's been looking for more firepower upfront since the start of the year. Villa boss Paul Lambert is also actively seeking to move the players on as he tries to slash almost £1m of the wage bill. He's also brought in six new players and persuaded six more of his youngsters to sign new long-term deals. Now Lambert's busily trying to make sure his costly group of high-earning wantaway stars are less of a burden.
Birmingham Mail: West Bromwich Albion will not be joining the scramble to sign Aston Villa man Darren Bent. The Baggies recently looked into the feasibility of signing the out-of-favour hitman on loan - but it would appear that is now a non-starter. It quickly became apparent that a switch could only take place if Albion were prepared to break the bank with a permanent deal as Villa have no intention of allowing him to leave on a temporary basis. Effectively the combined figure of a hefty transfer fee and Bent's steep wage demands put an end to any potential plan. And, as Albion recently made Nicolas Anelka one their highest-ever paid players, the club is not in a financial position to broker such an expensive deal. Fulham and Newcastle now appear to be in a two-way shoot-out to land the England forward. The Cottagers have already lodged two bids - the latest believed to be around the £6 million mark, while Bent is due to meet Newcastle officials this week.
Newcastle Chronicle: Alan Pardew has insisted that Darren Bent, Loic Remy and Bafetimbi Gomis are still very much on the radar of Newcastle United - but the Toon boss has warned that the Magpies would not be held to ransom. Pardew was in bullish mood after the 2-0 win at St Mirren after leading his side to victory in Paisley. The pressure, though, continues to mount on London-based director of football Joe Kinnear with the Toon Army once again voicing their opinions from the away section last night. Lyon have been playing hardball over a deal for Gomis in recent days with discussions about wages a key factor in the loan bid for Remy. And Fulham are expected to crank up their interest in Aston Villa's out-of-favour striker Darren Bent this week. When asked if he felt deals could slip through United's fingers if they weren't careful, Pardew told the Chronicle: "I'm not concerned about any of them slipping away. "I think that we are in the market still. "We will pay what we think is the right price."
Birmingham Mail: Antonio Luna reckons the pace of the Premier League will suit his all-action style - and admits his 'Tony Moon' nickname is out of this world. Luna has wasted no time adjusting to the demands of English football following the Spanish left-back's move from La Liga club Sevilla last month. The 22-year-old defender has been one of Villa's best players during pre-season and is relishing the big kick-off at Arsenal on Saturday, August 17. And he hopes his athletic approach to roving up and down the left flank will ensure he is ready-made for the quick-fire tempo of the Premier League.
Birmingham Mail: Barry Bannan's move to Blackburn has been put on hold. The 23-year-old midfielder failed to agree personal terms with the Ewood Park club after Villa accepted a bid believed to be in the region of £500,000. Another surplus Scottish international, Alan Hutton, could also be stuck in limbo after his loan return to Real Mallorca hit a hitch over his wages and what proportion each club was prepared to pay. Fulham and Newcastle are ready to step up their interest in Darren Bent after the Cottagers had an undisclosed offer rejected and Magpies director of football Joe Kinnear scheduled talks with the striker's representatives.
The Sun: Alan Hutton could be left in limbo at Aston Villa as his loan to Real Mallorca looks set to collapse. Real coach Llorenc Serra Ferrer has claimed Hutton's demands were proving the main problem to a return move to the holiday island. The ex-Spurs full-back, 28, spent last season at the Spanish club but Mallorca's relegation from La Liga meant they could not afford to sign the Scot on a permanent deal. Ferrer said: "I'm pessimistic. Everything had gone well, starting talks with Aston Villa. "But it has become complicated because the player is now asking for other things and that cannot be. It has to stop."
Best of the Rest
Sky Sports: Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola has rejected claims he was about to make a bid for Chelsea defender David Luiz. Speculation was rife after Bayern's 4-2 German Super Cup final defeat by Borussia Dortmund that Guardiola was in the market for another centre-back, with Luiz's name top of his list.
BBC Sport: Gareth Bale is "too young" to move abroad and would be making a mistake by leaving Tottenham for Real Madrid this summer, according to David Pleat. Bale, 24, has indicated he wants to speak to the Spanish giants.
Sky Sports: Javier Mascherano is confident Barcelona team-mate Cesc Fabregas will stay at the club despite attracting interest from Manchester United. Fabregas' future at Barcelona has been the subject of constant speculation this summer with United having seen two bids rejected for the former Arsenal captain.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.