Transfer News: Fulham leading race to sign Aston Villa striker Darren Bent

Darren Bent: Likely to start 2013-14 with a new club?

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Sky Sports understands that Fulham are now the front-runners in the race to sign Aston Villa striker Darren Bent.

Bent was only on the fringes of the Villa first-team last season, mainly thanks to the impact made by Christian Benteke, and they have further strengthened their attacking options this summer.

The 29-year-old was reportedly the subject of a £4m bid from Fulham and they are expected to make what would be a third offer with Villa standing firm on their minimum valuation, believed to be £6m.

Cottagers boss Martin Jol is keen to sign a striker, with the main aim of taking some of the pressure off last season's leading scorer Dimitar Berbatov.

But there is competition for Bent's signature, with Newcastle also serious in their interest - one press report on Wednesday morning suggested they would be Bent's preferred option.

Newcastle's interest in him stems from last season and Bent is reported to be linking up with director of football Joe Kinnear for talks later this week.

Their boss Alan Pardew is also pursuing a potential loan deal for QPR striker Loic Remy after so far being frustrated in his attempts to sign Lyon forward Bafetimbi Gomis.