By Wayne Veysey

31st Dec, 2016 | 2:30pm

Aston Villa attacker is number one January target of London PL club - Telegraph

By Alex Stevens

Rudy Gestede is the number one January transfer target of Crystal Palace, according to a report.

The Telegraph claim the London-based Premier League club are prioritising the recruitment of a new striker when the winter window opens on Sunday.

It is said that manager Sam Allardyce’s team have made Gestede their leading target after losing Connor Wickham to injury for the rest of the season and with Loic Remy still sidelined.

The Times claimed earlier this week that Villa are on the brink of agreeing a “swap deal” with Middlesbrough in which Gestede would move to the Riverside Stadium and Jordan Rhodes would head the other way.

But the Telegraph suggest that Palace could be ready to give Boro a run for their money in the chase for Gestede.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

Villa manager Bruce admitted on Thursday night that his club were negotiating with a top flight club about a Gestede deal, although he did not name the club or confirm that a player exchange could take place.

But he provided the first confirmation that a Premier League have opened negotiations about buying the centre-forward.

“I believe a Premier League club is in discussions with us about him (Gestede) so we will see how that develops,” Bruce said, as quoted by the Mail, after Villa’s 1-1 draw against Leeds on Thursday night.

“I have six centre forwards so I might need to sell one of them to buy a midfield player or a defender. We haven’t got the balance of the squad quite right.”

Gestede was introduced as a 78th minute substitute against Leeds and made an impact by helping to win the home side a late penalty that secured a share of the points, by pressuring defender Liam Cooper into making a handball.

Jonathan Kodjia converted the spot-kick to hand Villa the point that lifted them once place in the table to ninth as they continued their improvement under Bruce, who was appointed in mid-October.

Football Insider verdict:

Gestede has done little at Villa to suggest he could be anything other than a bit-part figure at a Premier League club. His height and power ensures he will always provide immense nuisance value – as Leeds found to their cost on Thursday – but he does not have the all-round game to be a regular starter at a top flight outfit. The fact that he has been on the fringes at Villa Park since Bruce took over suggests he will not take a Premier League team to the next level.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, a Premier League club has joined the race to sign a Villa ace and a £10million striker could move to the Midlands giants in part-exchange.