Darren Bent’s advisers will meet with Joe Kinnear this week as Newcastle United look to broker a deal for either the England striker or QPR forward Loic Remy before the weekend.
Patience is wearing thin at the lack of progress in a striker hunt that has been ongoing since the turn of the year, but the club are hoping to make their long- awaited breakthrough in time for their next pre-season friendly at Ibrox, with the focus now on Remy and Bent after an impasse was reached on Bafetimbi Gomis.
United have mothballed their pursuit of Lyon striker Gomis after the Ligue 1 club turned down an offer of just under £7million, although club sources have stressed that the bid remains on the table and a deal has not been written off.
Gomis’ desire to move to England is such that he has already spoken to members of Newcastle’s French contingent, but the intransigence of Lyon owner Jean-Michel Aulas – who has told United to up their bid to nearly£9million – has led the club to suspend talks.
With just a year left on his contract, the 27-year-old had expected to be allowed to leave for around £7million, and manager Remi Garde had confirmed to French reporters over the weekend that he was planning for life without Gomis.
But Lyon are confident that another club will stump up their asking price and have turned down two offers from Newcastle.
The Journal understands that the club are now ready to turn to Bent and Remy, with meetings scheduled for the middle of this week with the Aston Villa forward’s agent. Time is of the essence for United, with Fulham having had a ï¿½4million bid knocked back on Saturday before returning yesterday with a new offer.
United would have to stump up around £6million for Bent, who appears to prefer a move to Newcastle and playing under Alan Pardew to a switch to West London.
The striker is willing to accept a major wage cut to push the move through and sees St James’ Park as a good platform to launch a run for England’s World Cup squad.
It appears as if Newcastle are now looking to sign two forwards, with a season-long loan on the table for Remy – who would like to speak to United. While talk of the forward being on Tyneside to try to push through a deal proved false yesterday, there is a serious interest in the player.
A loan deal would offer Newcastle an insurance against an upcoming court case involving Remy, while also alleviating some of the pressure on QPR’s wage bill. The France forward is understood to have made it clear that he does not want to play in the English second tier. Newcastle have also been offered Pierre Andre-Gignac this summer but would prefer to land either Bent, Remy or Gomis – if Lyon are prepared to lower their asking price.
United’s striker options remain perilously thin, especially with Pardew looking to play two forwards next season. He will give Papiss Cisse his first taste of pre-season action at St Mirren tonight, while Hatem Ben Arfa, who is being prepared for a major role this term, is also set for a run out.
Newcastle have also been encouraged by the lack of interest shown in Yohan Cabaye so far this summer. The player himself is ready to press on with his Newcastle career if Paris Saint Germain do not table an offer.
“The feeling in the squad is very, very positive. It’s nice to work in this atmosphere,” he said.
“We just want to progress with the ball and keep more of the ball than last season.
“We gave away the ball too easily sometimes. The manager wants us to take one or two touches on the ball and move after the pass.
“It’s good. We’re not 100% fit, but we’re working hard.”