Rudy Gestede admits almost joining Crystal Palace, responds to Benteke comparison

Selhurst Park - Crystal Palace - 23/02/2014

Rudy Gestede says he isn't at Aston Villa to replace Christian Benteke.

Aston Villa striker Rudy Gestede has told the Daily Mail that he isn't a direct replacement for Christian Benteke - and also revealed that he almost joined Crystal Palace.

Gestede, 27, left Blackburn Rovers for Villa over the summer, having smashed 35 goals in 73 games for the Championship club.

The Benin international had to make the step up to the Premier League, and with three goals in ten games, he has made a promising start to life in the top flight.

Having lost Christian Benteke to Liverpool, Villa needed to bring in more firepower, and the 6ft 4in Gestede was seen by fans and pundits as the natural replacement for the physically imposing Benteke.

Yet, despite his outstanding aerial ability, Gestede has told the Daily Mail that he is not a direct replacement for Benteke - and believes he offers different attributes to the Belgian.

"I am not here to replace Christian Benteke, we are different players," said Gestede. "He has done well for the club, now I wish him the best at Liverpool. But I will bring something else. Obviously the fans will compare Benteke and me but they have to know we are not playing in the same way. I am just Rudy. I know what I have got."

Gestede, who could lead the line for Villa against Tottenham Hotspur tonight, also stated that he was close to signing for Villa's Premier League rivals Crystal Palace in January, but the deal fell through, paving the way for his summer move to Villa Park.

"Premier League football was my ambition. In January I was close to Crystal Palace but it didn't happen. I was in touch with a few other clubs but when Villa came it was an obvious choice. It is a massive club with history," he added.

With Tim Sherwood gone, Gestede will have to adapt to playing under a new manager at Villa Park, with Villa close to appointing Frenchman Remi Garde, according to BBC Sport.

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