Tim Sherwood a long-time admirer of Aston Villa new boy Rudy Gestede

Villa Park 6

The towering striker joins Villa after scoring 35 goals in 72 appearances during an 18-month stint at Blackburn Rovers.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has revealed to the club’s official website that he has been a big fan of new signing Rudy Gestede since first seeing him in action at Cardiff City.

Gestede, 26, rose through the ranks at French club FC Metz before landing a move to Cardiff in the summer of 2011 following a successful two-week trial.

The French-born striker bagged eight goals in 63 total appearances for the Bluebirds over the next two campaigns but soon found his first-team opportunities reduced following the club’s promotion to the Premier League in 2013.

However, a mid-season switch back to the Championship with Blackburn Rovers saw him kick-start his career in remarkable fashion, as the Benin international would go on to score 35 times in 72 games during his time at Ewood Park.

His breakthrough 22-goal campaign last term, when he combined with strike-partner Jordan Rhodes to help Gary Bowyer’s unfancied side to a ninth-place league finish, unsurprisingly led to reported interest from a host of top-flight clubs this summer, including Sunderland and West Ham United [h/t Daily Mail].

However, having been a keen admirer of Gestede since well before he became Villa boss, it was Sherwood who made the hardest push to secure the towering front man’s in-demand signature for around £6 million.

"I've known about Rudy since he was at Cardiff City and he is a player I've always admired,” Sherwood told avfc.co.uk. "His goalscoring ratio last season was fantastic and he is someone who certainly knows how to find the back of the net.

"He's a big, physical striker but he can play and I'm pleased to welcome him to the football club."

Gestede has some big boots to fill at Villa in replacing Christian Benteke, who made a £32.5 million move to Liverpool earlier this month, but, much like his predecessor, the former Rovers man is renowned for his aerial prowess.

In fact, there was no one in the Championship who even came close to matching his success in the air last season, having won 135 more headers than his nearest rival, Cardiff’s Alex Revell.

 2014-15 Championship PositionTeamGoalsHeaders WonHeader SuccessAppearancesMins Played
Rudy Gestede FW Blackburn 20 359 59.14% 39 2,705
Alex Revell FW Cardiff / Rotherham 6 224 51.38% 40 2,426
Sean Morrison DF Cardiff / Reading 7 221 65.77% 42 3,779
Christophe Berra DF Ipswich 6 215 65.75% 47 4,189
Atdhe Nuhiu FW Sheff Wed 8 209 46.04% 43 2,975

It remains to be seen whether he can translate that success to the top-flight but, if Sherwood was looking for a forward in the same mould as Benteke, then he could not have found a more perfect option.

Joining Gabby Agbonlahor, fellow new boy Jordan Ayew, Libor Kozak, Callum Robinson and potentially Emmanuel Adebayor at Villa Park, a regular spot in the line-up is by no means a guarantee but, given what he has shown in the second tier, there is good reason to be excited about his future in the Midlands.

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch