Steve Bruce explains Rudy Gestede departure and Aston Villa striker conundrum

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce

Villa sold Gestede to Middlesbrough for £6 million earlier this month.

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce has told the club's official website that he allowed Rudy Gestede to leave because of the striker's desire to return to the Premier League, and to raise funds for his own January signings, as quoted on the club's official website.

Villa sold Gestede to Middlesbrough for £6 million earlier this month, a deal which saw them recoup the entire fee they spent on the Benin man 18 months ago.

Gestede left Villa Park having scored 10 goals in 58 games for the club, including four in 18 Championship fixtures this season.

He was hardly prolific and often limited in his play, but his departure to Boro has left Villa short in attack, given that it coincided with top scorer Jonathan Kodjia and fellow attacker Jordan Ayew departing for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Aston Villa's Rudy Gestede celebrates scoring their second goal

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Bruce addressed questions about his departure by explaining that he is planning on reinvesting the money from the striker's sale.

Bruce said, via the club's official website: "I had a decision to make with Rudy Gestede. I knew Middlesbrough wanted him and we could put the money in the pot and put it towards people that can make us better.

"It’s always a difficult decision, I’m aware of that. Rudy wanted to go to a club in the Premier League that was quite understandable."

Bruce hinted that his efforts to bolster the club's attack in the winter market have been met with frustration so far, but reiterated that he is confident about adding to his squad in that department before the end of the month.

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce

Bruce added: "I’ve always said you’re only as a good as what you’ve got at the top end of the pitch. Make no mistake we’re trying in that department too.

"We must remember Jonathan Kodjia and Jordan Ayew are coming back - hopefully it’s in a couple of weeks too."

Villa have scored just 26 goals in 25 Championship games this season - only one team in the top 15 of the league has netted fewer - and exactly have of that total have been shared between Kodjia and Gestede.

It is apparent, then, why Bruce wants to add more depth to his attacking options in the next three weeks or so.

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