RUDY Gestede has done much to establish himself as a bona fide fans’ favourite over these past 12 months.

There have been the goals by the bucket load, most of them unstoppable headers, thrilling in their power and accuracy.


Then there was the time he cleaned out the club shop in town of the ‘Special’ T-shirts, featuring his face and name, to take home to his proud family back in France.

The acclaim that has come his way has been well deserved and it could not have happened to a nicer guy.

Anyone who has had any dealings with Gestede will tell you of a thoroughly decent, professional and humble man.

But, in the space of a week, the bond built up between the striker and the Rovers supporters has been damaged.

Playing devil’s advocate you can understand why Gestede’s head has been turned by Premier League interest.

A chance to further your career, and significantly boost your bank balance, is one the majority of us would find hard to resist.

There is the argument to suggest that, whatever Gestede’s state of mind, Rovers should have included him in their squad for Saturday’s clash at Wigan.

After all they are the ones paying his wages and they are on the ones who have given him the platform to transform his career.

But, as Kevin Gallacher pointed out in these pages earlier this week, could Rovers have afforded to risk injury to a player who, at that stage at least, seemed set to bank the club millions of pounds?

What was harder to swallow were the appalling comments made by Gestede’s agent, David Wancier, to the national press on Tuesday.

They did his client absolutely no favours.

How can Gestede ‘really want’ to move to Palace but also remain ‘committed’ to Rovers? Talk about hedging your bets.

Wancier also implored the clubs ‘to discuss to try and find a solution’.

But Palace, or any other of Gestede’s suitors, should know by now that Venky’s will not be pressured into selling the club’s top-scorer.

That is why it is not inconceivable that the 26-year-old will still be a Rovers player once the window slams shut at 11pm on February 2.

Should that be the case then Gestede will have some bridges to build.

And the best way to do that would be to perform like he has done throughout his Rovers career.

But 11 days is a long enough time for more twists and turns in what is already developing into a drawn-out transfer saga.

If Gestede does ultimately go, and the only way he will is if a club gets close to the price that Rovers are looking for, then it would be a shame to do so under a cloud, after genuinely winning a place in the hearts of the fans.