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Opinion

You can’t overstate how important it is to sign this player who wants to be at Newcastle United

3 months ago
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Ok, let’s put to one side the subject of the Rafa Benitez contract at Newcastle United. I’m of the opinion that it’s currently 50/50 if he’ll stay or not, but one thing’s for sure, the longer it drags on the more I’ll be leaning towards him opting to leave.

We are moving through the summer transfer window and as we speak, other clubs are stealing a march on NUFC, while we can’t even name who our manager will be next season. You can’t realistically make transfers while you don’t have a manager and as is often reported, the size of the budget for players and the age/experience of said players, is a massive sticking point in Rafa’s negotiations with the club.

On the subject of transfers, there has been much debate about the future of striker Salomon Rondon, with his loan deal about to expire and (with other clubs said to be monitoring the situation) discussion has been centred around the relative merits of keeping the player at the club next season.

It’s going over old ground to say that I feel it’s an idiotic move to even consider NOT signing Rondon, as his performances this season after he found his match fitness around November brought out the best in Newcastle and allayed my worries of relegation early in the new year, but on the subject of doing the deal, we really shouldn’t overstate how much of an own goal it would be to fail to make it happen.

West Bromich Albion failed in the play offs, which was the first bonus, meaning that he will cost £16.5m (his release clause) and not £20m as would have been the case if WBA has been successful in promotion to the Premier League. The second bonus is that he actually wants to be here and has made various statements to this fact. Too many times in the past we’ve gone out and got players that didn’t want to be at the club and here we are twiddling thumbs over one that does.

Back in 2005, Freddy Shepherd sanctioned two deals that financially hamstrung the club for a number of years when he splashed £16m on Michael Owen and another £10m+ on Albert Luque, all in the same summer, and when neither wanted to be at St James Park, both coming to the club on unbelievable contracts.

Cast your minds further back to 1996, Kevin Keegan had just persuaded the club’s board to spend £15m to bring Alan Shearer home and fans were understandably delirious. But at the time we already had ‘Sir’ Les Ferdinand at the club and a vital point is often overlooked. The club actually wanted to flog Ferdinand to help offset the Shearer deal and Keegan rightly refused. Stating that he hadn’t bought Shearer to replace Ferdinand but to play with him. Surprise surprise, when Keegan left, Ferdinand was sold within six months and substandard buys set the club back a number of years.

Salomon Rondon will have his suitors this summer, that’s a guarantee. He would enhance or supplement any side’s attack outside the current top six and pretty much every club will be willing to pay £16.5m for his services, heck even a promoted side would be foolish not to look at financing a deal for him. We aren’t the rich boys of the Premier League but we really are falling short if we can’t get this transfer over the line.

To allow Rondon to slip through our fingers when it’s such an easy deal to do would have a similar effect as losing Les Ferdinand 23 years ago, arguably more so.

Fair enough, we’re not fighting it out at the top of the table like in 1997, but to lose such a player will have drastic implications next season, as trying to replace Rondon with a player of similar quality (or better) and in the age range the club are demanding, will either cost far more than what Rondon is available for and/or have absolutely no guarantee of success.

In football terms the Salomon Rondon deal is as close to a sure fire thing as you could possibly imagine in terms of what he could/would do next season.

Rafa Benitez knows this and I’m sure it’s one point he’s sticking to in contract negotiations.

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