According to ex-Mag Andy Cole, Rafa Benitez ‘created his own problem’ signing Salomon Rondon – feeling the Venezuelan striker is never going to score more goals than his predecessor Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Mitrovic may be ahead of Rondon in the goalscoring charts as thing stand, with him scoring 8 in 24 to Rondon’s 6 in 16, but Mitro was not the player he is for Fulham in Benitez’s system.
It was a clash of styles as far as Rafa and he were concerned, where as Rondon has been able to slot in exactly as Benitez would’ve hoped, doing the dirt work brilliantly, holding the ball up and bringing others into play – as well as contributing an impressive 6 goals and 2 assists in just 13 starts in the process.
Speaking on Sky show ‘The Debate’, here’s what Cole said about Rafa’s decision to sell Mitrovic and replace him with Rondon:
“The strange one for me is looking at who they brought in.
“They got rid of Mitrovic and brought in Rondon.
“Rondon’s not going to score more goals than Mitrovic, he’s not going to do it so you create your own problems.”
Ok, Rondon has never been prolific during his three and a half years in English football, but Benitez clearly felt he could get more out of him at Newcastle – and he is.
As things stand he’s set to get into double figures for the season, but what he brings to this team goes beyond just putting the ball into the back of the net – with him regularly doing things Mitrovic was just not capable of doing in this system.
Cole suggests he’s ‘created a problem’, but I prefer to see it as him actually freeing us of a problem in Aleksandar Mitrovic – a capable player who just wasn’t fitting in.