Salomon Rondon exposes Mike Ashley crass behaviour and strategy in latest interview
At the weekend Salomon Rondon revealed in an interview with beIN sports that Mike Ashley and Newcastle United had made no attempt at all to keep him.
The Venezuelan striker expressing his sadness that after his best ever year in England, he was forced to walk away from Newcastle United.
Now reunited with Rafa Benitez in China, Rondon is doing a number of media interviews and in his latest one, he has filled in further blanks as to what happened with Mike Ashley and NUFC.
Salomon Rondon describes it as a ‘beautiful year’ he had at St James Park, pointing to the atmosphere at SJP and the reaction he got from the fans.
The forward says that when he left at the end of the season and went to prepare for the Copa America with his country, he was still confident he could stay on Tyneside and become a permanent signing.
However, that depended very much on one other thing. He knew Rafa Benitez had to agree to stay first.
The Newcastle fans knew the score, that Rafa Benitez was desperate to stay at NUFC but would only do so if he was given the freedom to choose which players to sign within an agreed budget. The battle lines were drawn a long way out, with Salomon Rondon at the heart of it.
Mike Ashley refused to see sense and made clear to Rafa Benitez that he had to agree to a strategy of only targeting young players who could potentially grow in value, which even ruled out somebody who had been your best player the previous season…
Salomon Rondon declaring: ‘I thought Rafa would sign for Newcastle, but he didn’t and when Rafa said he was going, my possibility to stay at Newcastle went down straight away. Rafa brought me to Newcastle and he fought with the owners to bring me there.’
That sums it up really, last summer Rafa even had to agree to loan out Dwight Gayle in the opposite direction to even get his top target on a temporary move.
The bottom line is that Mike Ashley never had any intention of trying to keep either Rafa Benitez or Salomon Rondon.
This is Mike Ashley’s crass behaviour and strategy laid bare.
Surely every signing is on its own merits and whilst its fine to have an underlying plan of predominantly aiming for young players with great potential to be better and more valuable in the future (which surely every club has in reality), you also don’t ignore the obvious. When you have somebody who has been such a massive asset and the key player to your team, it is a no-brainer to make an exception.
Salomon Rondon talking to The Sun:
“It was a beautiful year for me last season [at Newcastle].
“I loved it because the supporters were behind me all the time.
“I enjoyed playing with the number nine shirt, I scored goals and the atmosphere at St James Park was amazing.
“Always, I will remember that season.
“Was I disappointed to leave?
“Yes, because I was waiting for something. I was waiting for Rafa.
“When I went to the Copa America, I thought Rafa would sign for Newcastle, but he didn’t and when Rafa said he was going, my possibility to stay at Newcastle went down straight away.
“Rafa brought me to Newcastle and he fought with the owners to bring me there.
“So when Rafa said goodbye, I felt I would have to say goodbye as well.
“I understood in that moment I would not sign for Newcastle.
“Maybe a few years ago, Newcastle would have given me a contract.
“But it looks like the owner’s rule is that, ‘Because he’s 29, when I sell I don’t get more money from what I’ve invested in him’.
“I get that because, for the owner, it is a business.
“But I showed to all of them that even though I am 29, I am still scoring goals, I still assist my teammates, I am still working really hard, I still feel like a young guy.
“I have had 12 years in Europe and no bad injuries, I try to eat properly and I am professional.
“When you hear the comments about my age, those people don’t know about football.
“I can play again in the Premier League one day because I am the kind of striker people like in England — scores goals, works really hard, runs, fights with the defender, but I am now thinking about Dalian with Rafa. It’s an amazing country and I am really happy.”
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