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Opinion

So will the real Salomon Rondon please step forward…what exactly have we got?

3 months ago
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Salomon Rondon was Rafa Benitez’ first choice striker target this summer, according to the media.

Although whether that was ‘first choice striker target…who would cost no more than £2m on loan’ is open for debate.

If Rafa Benitez could have bought a striker for £22m as well as selling one for that amount, I think we all know the manager would have happily gone shopping at another level.

So anyway, Salomon Rondon is who we ended up with, for better or worse.

Football fans have always been reactionary in terms of quickly changing their minds on individual players and indeed the entire team – but in the modern day it appears to have got even worse.

Maybe the immediacy of social media and so many different ways for fans to be seen having their say, encourages the sweeping changes from one view to another that is 180 degrees different, often in the blink of an eye.

Despite beating Watford 1-0, the acceptance was that it was with a fair bit of luck, plus a pretty anonymous showing from Salomon Rondon. Whilst fans generally accepted Rafa’s explanation that the striker still wasn’t match fit, there still wasn’t really anything there that even vaguely suggested he could be the answer to Newcastle’s desperate needs.

Then Bournemouth happened. A man of the match performance, two goals and it could have easily been a hat-trick, Rondon looked a real player.

So will the real Salomon Rondon please step forward…what exactly have we got?

Well, looking at his previous, Newcastle look like they have got a decent target man on loan who doesn’t tend to score many goals.

That isn’t a criticism, it is just reality. It also explains why there was no serious competition from other Premier League sides for his services.

Salomon Rondon has scored nine, eight and seven goals in his three previous Premier League seasons. Which may explain why despite the two goals against Bournemouth, the bookies still made him 5/2 to reach 10 Premier League goals this season.

That game against Bournemouth was only the second time Rondon has scored more than one goal in a Premier League match. The other time was back on 14 December 2016, a hat-trick in a 3-1 West Brom win over Swansea.

Interestingly, that was also the last day the Venezuelan forward scored in a Premier League win, until 23 months later and the 2-1 over Bournemouth.

In that intervening 23 month period, Salomon Rondon had scored eight goals.

They came in 64 Premier League appearances for West Brom and Newcastle, 53 as a starter and 11 from the bench.

For Venezuela in that time, Salomon Rondon has a record of three goals in 20 appearances (19 of those as a starter).

I think everything comes back to the fact that Newcastle United have got themselves an effective target man but not a regular goalscorer.

It’s not that he is another Joselu, he’s a lot better than that.

However, I believe the bottom line is that if Newcastle are to end up safe, they need a lot of other players taking responsibility for scoring goals, which will almost certainly need to include at least a couple of January signings.

Salomon Rondon is going to be an integral part of the team if Newcastle are to be ok this season but it will be as a team player and target man who weighs in with a few goals, rather than somebody who will score for fun.

If he does reach double figures this season, another eight at least from another 26 matches, then he will have proved a very good signing, at the price.

It is feet on the ground time for Newcastle fans who can hope for much more from Rondon but expectations on the other hand, can only go so far.
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