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Fulham are ready to rescue striker Darren Bent from his Aston Villa nightmare with a £4million move.

The Cottagers, who have already signed three players this week, have placed a bid for the former England striker.

Bent has been told he is free to find a new club by Villa boss Paul Lambert, and the Midlands side are now ready to make a big loss on a player they originally signed for £24m.

Bent barely figured in the side under Lambert last season as new boy Christian Benteke shone, and now Fulham and West Ham are both chasing the Londoner.

Craven Cottage manager Martin Jol knows Bent from their brief spell together at Tottenham and that might give the Dutchman an advantage, but Fulham will definitely try to bargain Villa down below £5m.