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Opinion

Could Newcastle United do better than Salomon Rondon?

3 months ago
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The futures of Salomon Rondon and Rafa Benitez appear to be inextricably linked.

Newcastle fans and media thinking it is a case of all or nothing.

Either both of them will still be here at St James Park come August, or neither of them will be.

A key condition for Rafa Benitez if he is to stay, is that he gets freedom to buy players of his choosing, as well as a realistic amount of transfer cash being made available.

Rafa was blocked from buying Salomon Rondon last summer because he was due to turn 29 in September (2018).

However, the striker has proved to be Newcastle’s key player, scoring more (nine) goals and assists (five) than any other NUFC player in the Premier League.

So it stands to reason, unless Mike Ashley significantly changes his way of running Newcastle, Salomon Rondon (who turns 30 in September) won’t be allowed to be bought and Rafa Benitez definitely won’t sign another contract if he isn’t even permitted by Ashley to buy Newcastle’s best player.

Going off at a tangent, and no disrespect to Salomon Rondon, but could (and should) Newcastle United be aiming higher than the West Brom loan striker?

Rondon is good and certainly by far the best striker Newcastle had this season but he is what he is.

The Venezuelan isn’t a natural goalscorer and his Premier League record shows that.

Four seasons in England have produced 33 PL goals so far, with four games remaining of this current season.

The season by season totals being nine (2015/16), eight (2016/17), seven (2017/18) and nine so far in 2018/19.

Salomon Rondon is an eight goals a season striker in the Premier League playing for poor/average teams.

Obviously he does bring other things to the team with good hold up play and defending from the front but once again, should Newcastle United be looking for better when it comes to their main goalscoring threat?

Under Mike Ashley I would say sadly this can’t be the case. ironically, he won’t even let Newcastle sign Salomon Rondon never mind accepting what really needs to happen in the transfer market when shopping for goalscorers.

Actually, when I say that we can hope for this under Ashley, even that isn’t true, with the NUFC owner set to block his transfer.

I look at past Newcastle United strikers and of course you have Shearer, Ferdinand and Cole, they are on a completely different level to what we have seen since Alan Shearer’s retirement.

In more recent years, I would say under Mike Ashley, Newcastle’s best strikers have been Demba Ba and Loic Remy, by some distance.

Demba Ba scored 29 goals in 51 Premier League starts (plus 3 appearances off bench).

Loic Remy scored 14 goals in 24 Premier League starts (plus 2 appearances off bench.

No coincidence that the best two Newcastle United seasons both in terms of number of points and quality of football, were achieved in the one full season each of these played in. If Yohan Cabaye hadn’t been sold in January 2014 (or adequately replaced), Newcastle could have got a lot closer to that fifth place finish and 65 points total of 2011/12, rater than fading to 10th and 49 points.

Papiss Cisse was devastating when scoring 13 goals in his first 13 PL starts (plus 1 appearance off bench) in final months of 2011/12 but his overall profile is more decent than devastating.

I would say overall that despite different strengths and weaknesses than the Venezuelan, I would group Cisse with Salomon Rondon in terms of the level/quality they are, a step down from Ba and Remy certainly.

Throwing another one into the mix and one who is even more different than Salomon Rondon but maybe of a similar overall standard, is Obafemi Martins. He scored 28 goals in 76 Premier League starts (plus 12 appearances off bench).

Bottom line is that I am realistic though and if Rafa Benitez can be convinced to stay, at the very least it should/would mean Salomon Rondon is signed as well. Though what that also means is that it’s absolutely essential that the manager is also able to add more goals in the supporting roles, whether that is wingers or attacking midfielders.

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