The Daily Mail says Everton boss Dave Moyes is determined to replace imminent Fulham signing Andy Johnson with another hard-working striker to work in tandem with the less energetic Yakubu.
Bent, 24, fits the bill despite failing to impress at Spurs following last summer's £16.5m switch from Charlton.
Any club offering something close to a money-back deal on Bent would certainly have been granted an enthusiastic audience by the Tottenham board were it not for the fact that Juande Ramos is suddenly short of strikers, with Robbie Keane's move to Liverpool and Dimitar Berbatov soon to leave for Manchester United.
Bent has featured more regularly in pre-season games but Everton's interest is unlikely to be encouraged, at least until manager Ramos has reinforcements on board.
Tottenham's negotiating stance in the transfer market can only be weakened if they are seen to be desperate.