Newcastle United are mulling over a move for Aston Villa striker Darren Bent.

The Sunday Mercury says Toon boss Alan Pardew has made Bent his first-choice strike target and is keen to launch a bid for the claret and blues' record signing.

But Newcastle have also identified a mystery French forward and Pardew will meet with Joe Kinnear when the director of football returns from holiday in Italy tomorrow.

Bent is believed to fancy a move to Tyneside despite playing for Newcastle's fierce rivals Sunderland and his wages will not be a stumbling block.