Rudy Gestede: Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce prepared for striker's Middlesbrough exit

Rudy Gestede
Rudy Gestede has scored nine goals in 50 league appearances for Aston Villa

Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce is willing to let striker Rudy Gestede go to Middlesbrough to help fund new signings in the January transfer window.

Gestede, 28, has made just eight Championship starts for Villa this season and only three since Bruce took over in October.

"The two clubs are talking," he told BBC WM. "We'll see how that develops.

"He's not been playing as much he wants and we've got a bit of an imbalance in the squad, which isn't healthy."

Bruce added: "I've got six centre forwards and I've got to maybe sell one to buy in a midfield player or another defender."

Benin international Gestede joined Villa, then in the Premier League, from Championship club Blackburn Rovers on a five-year deal for an undisclosed fee in July 2015.

Meanwhile, Villa are still hoping to have top scorer Jonathan Kodjia available for Monday's trip to Cardiff.

He has been called up for Africa Cup of Nations duty for the Ivory Coast and could be away for up to five weeks, depending on how the Ivorians progress.

The Africa Cup of Nations final is scheduled for 5 February, in Libreville, in Gabon.

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