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Opinion

Are Newcastle United setting the bar too low with Salomon Rondon

4 months ago
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Fair to say Salomon Rondon has created a positive impression this season.

Looks a decent target man, works hard, comes over really well off the pitch.

So far, the loan striker has six goals and three assists, with 12 matches still to play.

Looking back at his three seasons at West Brom, it tells a similar story:

2015/16 – Nine goals and two assists

2016/17 – Eight goals and two assists

2017/18 – Seven goals and three assists (all stats via whoscored)

So what his record in the Premier League suggests, is that the Venezuelan striker will be directly involved in around ten or so goals each season, either scoring or assisting.

Last summer it showed just how little freedom of choice Rafa Benitez had when it comes to transfer decisions, despite Mike Ashley having claimed that the manager could buy and sell as he saw fit with ‘every penny’ the club generated available for him to spend.

Despite selling Mitrovic for £22m (rising to £27m), Rafa wasn’t even allowed to put a bid in to buy Salomon Rondon due to his age (turned 29 in September 2018) and only managed to get him on loan due to agreeing that Dwight Gayle would do in the other direction.

I know it is always dangerous to plan/think ahead with Newcastle United but when looking at what is needed for next season, I can’t help thinking Newcastle fans are setting the bar a little low.

I think Salomon Rondon would be a handy striker to have as part of the group BUT only if certain other things happen.

You can get away with having a first choice centre-forward who doesn’t score a lot of goals but only if you have some very good alternative goalscoring options in your team.

For Rondon to be good enough to be Newcastle’s first choice if we are looking to progress, I think you need to have Miguel Almiron capable of scoring double figures at least, plus another attacking player doing the same.

Clearly the likes of Josulu, Atsu and Perez aren’t that ‘another attacking player’ we need next season.

In the MLS, Almiron scored nine and thirteen goals in his two seasons, decent enough as a second/supporting striker but a tough ask to repeat in the Premier League. Though I think he would need to show he could do, if Salomon Rondon is indeed going to be the preferred centre-forward next season.

Personally, I think we have seen increasing evidence that he clearly isn’t a natural goalscorer who scores goals in any number of ways, he has never scored a Premier League goal from outside the box and a high proportion of the ones he has scored have been with his head. Nothing wrong with that but it does suggest he relies a lot on service rather than creating his own chances and scoring.

It isn’t that I am expecting our first choice striker to be a Shearer, Ferdinand or Cole. If only.

However, recent times have seen the likes of Demba Ba (29 NUFC goals in 51 Premier League starts plus 3 as a sub), as well as Loic Remy who in his only NUFC season scored 14 goals in 24 PL starts (pus 2 sub appearances).

For Newcastle to move on, if Rondon is to be the man at the sharp end we need those two goalscoring threats as the main support, plus other midfield players/wingers also taking more goalscoring responsibility.

Alternatively of course, Rafa Benitez is allowed to go out and spend £27m on our main goalscoring threat, rather than just being allowed to sell a striker for that kind of figure.

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