At the end of last season, MOMS would have been indifferent to any Aston Villa player leaving the club who was responsible for such a woeful season. Those who have remained at the club have done little since to win back Villa’s place in the top-tier.
Last week Villa manager Steve Bruce confirmed that striker Rudy Gestede had been in talks with Middlesbrough and the Daily Mail today reports that the Benin international striker is currently in Teeside to wrap up the deal.
The deal should see Villa break even on the £6million they initially fronted up for the striker.
Gestede has so far proved to be a one season wonder in his career, scoring 20 league goals in the 2014-15 Championship season for Blackburn, a performance that prompted Tim Sherwood and company to bring him to Villa.
After Villa’s relegation, it seemed that the Gestede purchase was indeed forward-planning for the Championship, after he again failed to make an impression in the Premier League with Villa in a similiar fashion to his muted spell at Cardiff City.
Gestede’s technical deficiencies put a huge question mark over his ability to contribute in the Premier League beyond being a bit part player, however there is no doubting his heading ability (he scored the most headers of any player in the English leagues in 2015).
His aerial prowess was also very useful when defending corners, an asset that was often overlooked at Villa.
If you can provide the service that Villa seemed reluctant to, then there are benefits to having Gestede in a squad certainly in the Championship. Certainly some Villa fans felt he offered the team an alternative route of attack, but then scratched their heads as he came on as a substitute (more than once) to replace his most likely supplier, right-winger Albert Adomah.
There’s been question marks over how Villa have utilised their strikers this season. Have the two Villa managers got the best out of Gestede, Ayew, McCormack and even Kodjia?
A poor midfield haven’t helped matters, but Villa still had the likes of Adomah and also Jack Grealish in the team, yet supply to the strikers still hasn’t been the greatest.
Gestede’s temperament has been good at the club and fans have largely regarded him fondly with his goal on his debut away at Bournemouth and his impactful headed winner in the League Cup against Blues, winning him favour.
Yes, maybe he would have been useful in the Championship with no guarantees of promotion this season, but the chance for Villa to get their money back and sharpen the focus on utilising the strikers that remain is the silver lining of the transfer.
Ultimately, signing Gestede to replace Christian Benteke’s presence as a focal point for Villa’s attack was one of the several naive decisions that led to Villa’s relegation. So there’s no reason to loose any sleep as we wish Rudy well at his next club.