By support

31st Dec, 2016 | 3:43pm

Confirmed: Aston Villa lay on private jet as Bruce attempts to secure striker deal

By Matt Farr

Aston Villa are trying desperately to keep Jonathan Kodjia at the club for one more game before he heads off to the Africa Cup of Nations.

Kodjia is part of the Ivory Coast squad that will participate in the tournament in Gabon, and is expected to report to a training camp in Paris next week.

However, Steve Bruce is attempting to negotiate a deal with the Ivory Coast national team to allow Kodjia to play against Cardiff before joining up with the squad later in January.

Bruce and Villa have already succeeded in their bid to keep Ghana forward Jordan Ayew at the club to face Cardiff on Monday, in a match that sees ninth play 20th.

The Mail claim that Bruce wants to fly Kodjia out on a private plane, an offer which he hopes can tempt the Ivorian side into agreeing to a deal.

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“We need the Ivory Coast to play a little bit of ball with us,” Bruce said, as quoted by the Birmingham Mail. “All the other teams seem to have let their players.

“We’re trying to put on a private plane for him so he can fly to Paris to meet up with them. But at the moment it looks a bit of a stalemate so we’ll just have to wait and see and keep trying.”

Kodjia is currently Villa’s lead goalscorer with nine goals from 23 appearances in all competitions, and his influence will be sorely missed during his international duties.

A number of nations have allowed their players to arrive late in their preparations ahead of the international tournament, and Villa’s promotion rivals Newcastle are one side that look to benefit from it.

The Magpies will have trio Mo Diame, Christian Atsu and Chancel Mbemba available when they face Blackburn on Monday, before they each depart for a month-long absence.

The tournament begins on 14 January, and runs until February 5.

In other Aston Villa news, Rudy Gestede is the number one transfer target for his Premier League club.