Date of birth: 10th October 1988
Place of birth: Essey-lès-Nancy
Year signed: 2015
Signed from: Blackburn Rovers
Fee paid: Undisclosed (believed to be £6 million)
Rudy Gestede started his career at youth level at FC Metz’s academy in 2004, signing a professional contract with the club in 2007. He remained there until 2009, when he joined AS Cannes on loan, scoring four times in twenty-two appearances.
Gestede then moved to Championship side Cardiff City after a successful trial in 2011, scoring for the first time against Charlton Athletic on 23rd July 2011.
Gestede’s first competitive goal for the Bluebirds came against Leicester City in the Football League Cup, a game in which he later scored in a penalty shootout to help his side to a 7-6 victory.
His first league goal came in his first league start against Ipswich Town on 15th October 2011.
After suffering an injury in pre-season that kept him out of action for the first two months of the 2012-13 season, Gestede returned in October and helped the Welsh side gain promotion to the Premier League.
Frustrated by limited playing time for the promoted side, the striker joined Blackburn Rovers, initially on an emergency loan, in November 2013.
He scored his first goal for Rovers on 1st January 2014 against Leeds United and the same day signed a three and a half year deal with the Lancashire club. He impressed there, chalking up thirteen goals in twenty-seven appearances and carried on his fine form the following season, when he scored twenty times and provided four assists in thirty-nine appearances.
Having scored more headers than any other player in the top four tiers of English football in 2013-14 and 2014-15, Gestede was targeted by Sherwood after the departure of Christian Benteke and he signed for Aston Villa Football Club on 31st July 2015 for an undisclosed fee, which it is believed was £6 million.
Gestede represented France at U-19 level between 2006 and 2008 but never played for the senior side. He was called up by Bénin in 2013 and has since scored three times in six appearances.