By Wayne Veysey

28th Dec, 2016 | 5:26pm

Aston Villa close to agreeing £6.5m striker deal - reliable journalist

By Harry Sykes

Rudy Gestede is close to joining Middlesbrough from Aston Villa for £6.5million, according to a reliable journalist.

The Guardian’s deputy news editor Ed Aarons has claimed on his personal Twitter account that it “looks like” Gestede will move to the Premier League club.

Aarons reported that Gestede is heading for Teeside despite interest from rival clubs including Newcastle and top-flight pair Crystal Palace and West Brom.

Gestede has been a bit-part figure at Villa Park this season and has slipped down the pecking order since Steve Bruce was appointed manager in mid-October.

The Benin international, who was signed from Blackburn, has started eight of Villa’s 23 Championship matches this season and responded with four goals.

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He has lost out to eight-goal leading scorer Jonathan Kodjia in the battle for the spearhead role and it has been widely reported that Villa will cash in on the 28-year-old next month.

The Midlands giants are reportedly on the lookout for more firepower as they aim to make a late promotion surge.

Speculation is likely to increase that Boro striker Jordan Rhodes could be heading to Villa Park in part-exchange for Gestede.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, the club are within days of signing a Premier League striker for £12million.