Villa have already spent huge sums on two strikers this season but Rhodes could be just as costly.
The Benin international has been linked with a return to the Premier League for some time after falling out of favour under Steve Bruce, with Hull City and West Brom among those reportedly interested in a player who found the net five times in Villa’s relegation campaign.
However, The Guardian claim that Boro are now in the driving seat after Gestede was spotted in the crowd for their 3-0 home defeat to Liverpool recently. A £6.5 million deal appears close to completion, meaning Villa will recoup the fee they paid Blackburn for his services a year and a half ago.
Nonetheless, this does not guarantee that Rhodes will drop back down to Championship level with Villa in January, the Birmingham Mail stating that Boro are not keen on agreeing a swap deal with the two strikers.
This comes on the back of The Sun claiming that Aitor Karanka’s side were determined to make £12 million on any potential sale of the out-of-favour Scotland international.
Therefore, owner Dr Tony Xia will have to dig deep once again to provide Steve Bruce with the reliable goalscorer required to push Villa towards the play-offs.
However, despite top scorer Jonathan Kodja departing for the African Cup of Nations in January and the departure of Gestede, do Villa really need to splurge a huge figure on a replacement striker?
Villa may be one of the lowest scorers in the Championship with just 25 goals to their name but summer signing Ross McCormack’s first strike in 11 games, the winner against Burton on Boxing Day, suggests he could be finding form at the perfect time.
After all, he has a history of starting a season slowly, having scored just five times in his first 21 appearances for previous employers Fulham before netting 12 in his next 23.
Rhodes may guarantee goals at this level but there’s few better than an on-song McCormack and Bruce knows the value of maintaining a balanced squad.