Report: Gestede withdraws from Blackburn squad, wants to force through Crystal Palace deal

Blackburn Rovers striker Rudy Gestede pulled out of their game against Wigan Athletic on Saturday ahead of an expected departure.

According to the Daily Mail, Blackburn Rovers striker Rudy Gestede pulled out of their squad to face Wigan Athletic on Saturday in a bid to force a move to Crystal Palace.

Gestede, 26, initially struggled to make an impact in English football with Cardiff City, but has been nothing short of sensational since joining Blackburn.

The Benin international has hit 12 goals in just 23 games this season, adding to last season's tally of eight goals in 13 games for Gary Bowyer's men.

In a somewhat surprising turn, Gestede is now attracting more interest than his goal machine strike partner Jordan Rhodes, with Premier League clubs reportedly queuing up to sign him.

Hull City and West Bromwich Albion have both been linked with moves to sign him over the past week according to the Hull Daily Mail and Birmingham Mail respectively, but the Daily Mail suggest that both clubs have been put off by the £6m price tag on Gestede.

However, they also report that Palace are ready to pay £5m in order to bring him to Selhurst Park, with Gestede allegedly pulling out of the game against Wigan as he 'wasn't in the right frame of mind' to play amid speculation over his future.

Despite two goals from Dwight Gayle against Burnley on Saturday and the recent arrival of Yaya Sanogo on loan from Arsenal, new manager Alan Pardew seems to be targeting a target man figure in attack, and having hit a dead end in his pursuit of Swansea City striker Bafetimbi Gomis, as reported by Wales Online, Gestede appears to be next on his list of targets, with a deal moving closer after Gestede's withdrawal.

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