By Wayne Veysey

30th Dec, 2016 | 2:03pm

Official: Aston Villa open talks with Premier League club over striker transfer

By Harry Sykes

Steve Bruce has revealed that Aston Villa are in talks with a Premier League club about selling Rudy Gestede in the January window.

The Times claim the Championship outfit 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.

Villa manager Bruce did not name the club with whom they were negotiating the Gestede deal, or confirm that a player exchange could take place.

But he provided the first confirmation that a top flight club 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.

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“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:

Bruce clearly regards Kodjia as his main man up front and that it would be better to cash in on bit-part striker Gestede to free up cash to strengthen other areas of his squad. Target man Gestede would be an asset for most squads given his power and aerial prowess, but Villa have greater need in other positions and must trust promotion expert Bruce to reconfigure the squad as he sees fit.

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.