According to north-east reporter David Coverdale, Rafa Benitez has made the permanent signing of Salomon Rondon ‘top of his agenda’ ahead of contract talks over his future at the club.
It’s no surprise to hear this. Not only Rondon been hugely impressive on the pitch, being the exact player we’ve needed to give us a platform to build on in a counter attacking side, this is the EXACT sort of deal Mike Ashley has been reluctant to do in the past.
With that in mind, a change of approach on his part could be key in convincing Rafa to sign. It’s the exact sort of change Benitez needs to see to believe he’s willing to start doing ‘the right things’.
Here’s a snippet from Coverdale’s latest piece for the Sun:
RAFA BENITEZ will make signing Salomon Rondon top of his agenda when talks resume over his own Newcastle future.
Toon boss Rafa is out of contract in the summer and will need guarantees over transfers from owner Mike Ashley if there is to be any chance of him staying.
And the Spaniard’s first job will be to tell Ashley to make striker Rondon’s loan move from West Brom permanent — even though club chiefs have reservations over the South American’s age.
Benitez landed Rondon on a season-long deal in the summer, with Dwight Gayle heading to The Hawthorns.
The Venezuelan hitman, who turns 30 in September, has been a big hit at St James’ Park, hitting six Premier League goals — all in games Toon either won or drew.
Under Ashley, Newcastle have been reluctant to buy players approaching 30 or older — which is why they only got Rondon on loan.
Yet Benitez thinks his hitman — who did not reach double figures in any of his three Premier League seasons with the Baggies — has not yet reached his peak.
What must also be factored in is the fact we received £20m plus for Aleksandar Mitrovic – so there’s money there waiting to be spent on his replacement; and Rondon looks like the perfect one.
He’s a constant goal threat – delivering a steady 7 goals and 3 assists in a side that score so few – an absolute monster with his back to goal and from crosses and a player who’s already adored by Newcastle fans; with his tireless running and fight something that us fans appreciate as much as anything.
He’ll be 30 next summer, so I can see why Ashley would be wary if West Brom suddenly asked for stupid money, but Mike should be looking at himself right now and realising he was the stupid one last summer refusing to pay his £16m release clause.
Fortunately, the fact Gayle has shone on loan at West Brom gives us leverage – as does their interest in Jacob Murphy (currently their on loan) and Isaac Hayden.
Fingers crossed. I’m not sure where we’d be without Rafa and Rondon this season.