It is now reported that claims of other strikers being Rafa Benitez’ top target are wide of the mark.
The Shields Gazette saying on Friday morning that rather than Alassane Plea or any of the other names mentioned, it is actually Salomon Rondon who is the Newcastle manager’s top target.
They state that their information is that it is the West Brom forward who Benitez wants to lead the line next season.
Obviously if Rafa does genuinely think this, then who are we to argue.
However, I find it hard to believe this is really the United boss’ dream centre forward.
The Venezuelan international arrived at the Hawthorns for £15m three years ago and has hardly tore up the Premier League.
His top tier goals record reads nine in 2015/16, eight in 2016/17 and seven in 2017/18.
One thing in his favour is that he has a great fitness record, unavailable for only six of the 114 Premier League games in those three seasons and he was suspended for three of those six.
In total Salomon Rondon has played 8,234 minutes of Premier League football and scored 24 goals, at a rate of one every 343 minutes.
Joselu has played 2,805 Premier League minutes, scoring eight goals at a rate of one every 350 minutes.
As a goal maker, Rondon doesn’t really do it, in the three seasons he has managed seven PL assists.
I think rather than a goalscorer, Newcastle would be getting a hard working striker who would weigh in with a few goals.
Is that really what we are looking for?
Much is made of him having a buyout clause of ‘only’ £16.5m but even in today’s transfer market I’m doubting whether he is actually worth that. The fact nobody has made a move yet to activate that clause seems to support that.
Whilst looking around for info on Salomon Rondon I came across this…
The Mag – 21 March 2018:
Using official Premier League data from EA Sports, Talksport have put together this list of the five PL players to win most of those aerial duels this season:
224 Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace)
189 Peter Crouch (Stoke)
154 Shane Duffy (Brighton)
138 Salomon Rondon (West Brom)
137 Joselu (Newcastle United)
I can’t help but think that signing Salomon Rondon must be a target who is way down Rafa’s list, if he is indeed on it at all.
Nobody pretends that buying a credible goalscorer will be easy or cheap but buying somebody who is only a very marginal improvement on Joselu doesn’t float my boat.