Rudy Gestede’s imminent departure to Middlesbrough makes sense for the player and to some extent, for Villa as well. With just 10 goals in 55 appearances, Gestede has underwhelmed on the whole. Mind you, anyone who scores a winner against Birmingham will always find a ‘Welcome’ mat laid out for him at Villa Park on his return.
But at £6m, did we get our money’s worth? It’s hard to judge in one sense. He joined last year with a brief to get the goals to keep us up or at least some of them. He didn’t; five in 24 appearances isn’t a brilliant record but we were far from a brilliant side.
This season started more promisingly. Roberto Di Matteo used him at Hillsborough on the opening day and in the League Cup debacle at Luton. Neither were vintage performances from Gestede but against Rotherham, with two goals and an assist, he seemed to be looking the part in the Championship.
But he never kicked on from there. He grabbed a goal against Forest yet had already dropped to the bench for the most part. Indeed, after that game, he only made 5 appearances of 45 minutes or more. The rest were anywhere between 3 and 25 minutes. In those timescales, it’s hard for even the most prolific of strikers to make an impact and Gestede is far from prolific.
I do wonder if he’s jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. Middlesbrough are struggling for goals this season and are not really creating that many chances. I’m sure he’s thought of that problem already.
The question for Villa is where to go from here? We don’t have enough firepower, that’s patently obvious. Jonathan Kodjia is unlikely to return before the end of January and with Ivory Coast among the favourites to win the tournament, he may not be back until after the final on 5th February.
It means he misses the 3rd Round FA Cup exit at Tottenham, and then the league matches against Wolves, Preston, Bristol City, Brentford and Forest. Probably Ipswich as well, if they win. It’s a nightmare scenario for Bruce, almost 15% of the season. FIFA has to do something about this.
Steve Bruce told the BBC that a loan deal was all but completed. ‘But’ is a big word in this context. He’s right when he said that he can only make things better with the “right player” and in my view, he should use the plural. We need some inspiration on the pitch as well.
Goals have been an issue for some time. We don’t score enough, particularly as we can’t keep clean sheets. We were linked with Carl Jenkinson and that’s not a bad addition to the squad but I’d be happier with a quality goalkeeper. Everybody makes mistakes but so far Gollini and Bunn aren’t filling anyone with confidence. If we don’t get a ‘keeper now, we’ll need one in the summer because neither are Premier League material in my view.
The Birmingham Mail reports Sam Johnstone of Manchester United – me either – is on the brink of moving to B6 on loan for the rest of the season. Credit Bruce and his staff with scouting skills to know whether he is capable of performing in the first team with so much at stake for us.
It’s going to be an interesting month at B6. Hopefully we can come out the other side stronger and in a better league position. That’s not too much to ask, is it?