By Harry Sykes

Crystal Palace are weighing up a January swoop for Aston Villa forward Rudy Gestede, according to a report.

The Birmingham Mail claim that the Premier League club have made aware that the target man, 28, could be made available for transfer by Villa next month.

It is said that Palace manager Alan Pardew is in the market for a striker to provide cover for star man Christian Benteke following the season-ending injury suffered by Connor Wickham.

Gestede has fallen out of favour under Steve Bruce, starting only three of the manager’s ten matches in charge, and is behind first choice Jonathan Kodjia in the striker pecking order at Villa Park.

The Guardian report that the Midlands giants could look to secure Mutch, 25, as a makeweight in the deal.

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Former Cardiff, Watford and Birmingham midfielder Mutch, who joined Palace from QPR in January 2015, has made only three appearances in all competitions for Alan Pardew’s side this season and has been restricted to just eight minutes of Premier League action.

By contrast, Benin international Gestede has started eight of Villa’s 21 Championship matches, scoring four goals and supplying one assist.

Football Insider verdict:

It is clear that Bruce doesn’t fancy Gestede. He has had a bit-part role since the promotion specialist took over at Villa Park and a January transfer could free up some cash for the manager to strengthen other areas of the squad. Bruce should certainly investigate the possibility of signing Mutch, who has the potential to make a massive impact in the Championship. Inventive, technically gifted and energetic, Mutch could provide some of the stardust currently lacking in the Villa engine room.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, the club will make a £10million bid for a £50,000-a-week international ace.