Updated: Mar 17, 2019
As Newcastle United kick off their 2019/20 campaign, hopefully in the Premier League and therefore no doubt against Tottenham, we wonder what colour shirt Salomón Rondón will wearing on that day?!
For Newcastle and Rafa Benitez, Rondón has been a revelation this season, and we shudder to think what this season may have held for those donning the replica black and white shirts had his services not been secured on loan from West Brom.
The manager’s pursuit of the striker was, of course, questioned by many at the time of his arrival. It is easy to forget the condescending voices across social media, perhaps aimed more at the Newcastle owner for not supporting Benitez in splashing out for a ‘proper striker’ and thus ‘searching the bargain basement’ for loanees.
Whether Salomón was actually towards the very top of Rafa’s list may never be known. Certainly signing a player at 29 years old would be a monumental deviation from a transfer policy that barely allows for the recruitment of players with significantly less miles on the clock.
Whatever the back story, his signing has proved a catalyst for yet another push towards safety, with the Venezuelan pivotal in so many of Newcastle’s performances this season.
In all, Newcastle’s current number 9 has been involved in 15 goals in his 26 games this season, scoring 10 times. Only Ayoze Perez, with 10 goals or assists in his 33 games, gets anywhere near that kind of productivity.
So what of his future…
Well the player himself has gone on record to say he wants to stay at Newcastle, stating ‘it’s up to the clubs to sort out his future’.
The fans of Newcastle will want him to stay, no doubt. He has become something of a cult hero in his short time in a black and white shirt, dominating defences and proving fantastic foil for those who play behind him with something of a less impressive physical stature.
The chances of him extending his stay seem to rest on five key factors:
1) Will Newcastle be in the Premier League next season?
2) Will West Brom gain promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt? With the Baggies having activated the right to extend Salomón’s contract by a further year, meaning he is contracted to them until the end of the 19/20 season, you would think that they would want their player back should they be promoted, especially having seen him stay fit and perform to such a high standard during his time with Newcastle.
3) With two players currently on loan at West Brom, both having travelled in the opposite direction to Rondón over the last couple of transfer windows, will their be any appetite on their behalf to sign either Murphy or Gayle on a permanent basis? This would of course leave some room for negotiating a reciprocal agreement.
4) Will Newcastle be able to agree a suitable fee, one that the United hierarchy deem appropriate, for a player that will turn 30 years old within weeks of the new campaign?
5) Does Rafa have another plan, that would be supported by the Board, in bringing in a player he feels would be of even greater value to the team?
We can only speculate as to the answer on any of these question.
One this we do know for sure is that if Rondón doesn’t stay next season then he has some pretty big boots to fill.