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RUDY GESTEDE

Boro completed the signing of Rudy Gestede from Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee in January 2017.

The 28-year-old was the club's first signing of the January transfer window, putting pen to paper on a deal designed to keep him at Boro until June 2020.

Rudy, a French-born Benin international, started his career with Metz before moving to Britain to join Cardiff City, where he was a promotion winner from the Sky Bet Championship. He joined Blackburn, scoring 35 goals in 75 appearances, including 22 in the 2014/15 season, prompting Aston Villa to pay £6m for his services that summer.

The striker spent 18 months at Villa Park before joining Boro and his first goal following his move north came in the form of an acrobatic overhead kick against Oxford United in an FA Cup tie at the Riverside.

Rudy netted Boro's first goal under former manager Garry Monk - the winner against Sheffield United at the Riverside.

His 2017/18 season was decimated through two nasty injuries - in a thigh muscle and a broken ankle - and it said much for the character of the player that he still battled his way to 22 appearances and four goals.

The 2018/19 season wasn't as profitable for Rudy as he made just eight appearances.

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RUDY GESTEDE

Striker