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Crystal Palace to pay up for Blackburn poacher Rudy Gestede?

Blackburn Rovers will hold out for a fee of around £7m for top scorer Rudy Gestede, if the Lancashire club cash-in on the France-born forward this summer, according to reports.

Rovers apparently rejected a Crystal Palace bid of £3.5m for the Benin international during the winter window, but could sell to the Selhurst Park side for a more princely sum.

Impressive Eagles coach Alan Pardew (10/3 with Coral for a top 10 finish) is rumoured to have a promising pot of transfer funds to replenish Palace this summer, with the London club’s top flight safety all but guaranteed.

However, Palace may have to act swiftly to lure Championship menace Gestede to Selhurst Park, as Southampton are also said to be interested in the in-form attacker.

The Saints could potentially offer European football, and are apparently already trying to capture competition for current leading man Graziano Pelle, whose performances have faded towards the end of the season.

Relegation candidates Hull City are also being tipped to try for the centre forward, but will have to wait on their top tier status before making a move, while both Newcastle United and Aston Villa could be looking for new striking recruits this summer.

Six-capped goal machine Gestede is expected to instigate a furious transfer tussle, and Blackburn boss Gary Bowyer believes his club can capitalise on the poacher’s potency.

Speaking after the sought-after striker struck a hat-trick against Nottingham Forest, Bowyer told press, and potential suitors, that: “With performances like that, I’m not stupid, I know there’s going to be interest in him. The owners had a valuation in January and in my opinion now that valuation has gone up.”

Gestede has grabbed 32 goals across all competitions for Rovers since switching form Cardiff City in January 2014, and has hit a superb 17 in the Championship this campaign, alerting the attention of many a Premier League side.

When asked about his future, the 26-year-old said: “I’m focused on the next three games and then we’ll see after that – I don’t think about this now, it’s not a good time.

“If next season I’m in the Premier League, we’ll see what happens. This season is not finished and my focus is with Blackburn and I’m a Blackburn player. I don’t think about something else.”

Putting Premier League interest aside, all eyes will be on Gestede, who is a fantastic 5/1 to bag a brace or better again, as Rovers meet Millwall in their next match-up.