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Newcastle in for former Sunderland striker Darren Bent

Newcastle United, a 50/1 shot with Coral to record a top four finish in next season’s Premier League, have turned their attention for one-time Sunderland striker Darren Bent as a replacement for Loic Remy.

Tabloid reports say the Magpies have given up all hope of signing loan star Remy on a permanent basis from parent club QPR, with the player linked with top five teams Everton and Arsenal.

Bent, 30, has no future at Aston Villa under Paul Lambert and, with the club up for sale, he is expected to leave the West Midlands outfit this summer. He spent the campaign on loan at Fulham, but failed to nail down a place in the XI, despite the January exit of old Tottenham teammate Dimitar Berbatov.

Of 24 top-flight appearances this term, Bent came on as substitute in more than half (13) of those as the Craven Cottage club were relegated under Felix Magath after two changes of manager.

A proven Premier League scorer is believed to be Newcastle’s main priority this summer as Alan Pardew remodels the Magpies attack. Nigeria target man Shola Ameobi is out of contract at St James’ Park and Papiss Cisse will spend several months on the sidelines after having surgery on a broken kneecap.

Bent, who also counts Ipswich and Charlton among his former clubs, fits the bill nicely, with more than 100 top-flight goals to his name. How the Toon army would take to a player that scored 36 times in 63 appearances in all competitions for Sunderland remains to be seen.

In other Newcastle news, Swansea manager Garry Monk has issued a hands-off warning to Pardew over midfielder Jonjo Shelvey. The Magpies are believed to view the England cap as an ideal replacement for playmaker Yohan Cabaye, who was sold to PSG in January.