After scoring both goals in the crucial win against Bournemouth, Salomon Rondon is finally starting to deliver the performances in a Newcastle shirt that Benitez and NUFC fans have been expecting since his protracted arrival from West Brom in the summer.
With him firing and Dwight Gayle similarly fitting in so well for Albion in the Championship, it begs the question – could a permanent swap deal this summer be on the cards?
It’s never that simple of course with Newcastle under Ashley, but the stumbling block as to why Rondon didn’t arrive earlier was the £16m fee required to sign him permanently. The compromise was reached for Gayle to go the other way on loan as Newcastle balked at paying a record fee (not much these days we know) for a player approaching 30. Gayle has no future at Newcastle under Benitez and is a player who falls into the gap of excellent in the Championship but not up the level needed to score regularly in the top flight.
Rafa clearly wanted a more physical player to lead the line than Gayle and the win at the weekend showed why; Rondon’s header was the best goal we have scored all season and was Shearer-esque. The only way Ashley will entertain Rondon staying would be with no capital outlay, so a swap deal makes total sense for all parties, and one both sets of supporters would be happy with too.
Of course, in an ideal world it would then also free up money for us to sign another top striker to provide competition – but we all know that makes football sense and requires investment, neither things Ashley are interested in. let’s hope Rondon keeps up this form to force our hand to tie him down on a permanent basis.