Rafa Benitez has revealed just why new strikers signing Salomon Rondon and Yoshinori Muto will give us something different up top – with The Chronicle hinting that he could hand the West Brom loanee his first start at Cardiff on Saturday.
Joselu performed well against Spurs, scoring, almost bagging himself a superb assist and putting in a real shift, however it’s a matter of time until new boys Rondon and Muto threaten his place in the starting 11.
Starting with the big Venezuelan, here’s what Rafa Benitez had to say today when asked what Rondon would bring to his Newcastle side – suggesting his power, mobility and ability to hold the ball up will give us what we’ve been missing when ‘under pressure’:
“We talk about characteristics of a player and Rondon he is strong, he can keep the ball and link with the others, and at the same time he has more mobility,”
“He can give us this physicality and this kind of player that sometimes we were missing when we were under pressure.
“He can hold the ball and move forward. Joselu is doing a good job but maybe is not as strong as Rondon. He has clever movements but maybe is not as quick as Muto.”
Given the way Benitez has praised his physicality, could we see Rondon make his first start on Saturday against a notoriously physical Cardiff side? It sounds like he just might..
Benitez then had the following to say about Japanese international Muto, with The Chronicle also stating that the Spaniard sees him as a player who could also provide competition for Ayoze Perez in that second striker role:
“If you think about Dwight, he was a player with pace and some good movement – so Muto is someone who can run and also used his pace,”
“He is a worker, and someone like Dwight who can have chances and score goals for us, hopefully.
“Is he very clinical? We will see because you never know. In Germany he was not scoring 20 goals, but maybe he can come to the Premier League and score goals. He will score goals. How many? I don’t know.”
Rafa clearly sees him as a player who can fill Dwight Gayle’s boots – with him known for his intelligent movement and hard work – but it’s interesting to hear the gaffer admit that he’s unsure just how many he’ll score.
He may surprise us, but it shows what sort of constraints Rafa was under this summer when he’s been forced to sign a player who’s yet to prove himself in Europe’s top leagues.
That being said, I am quite sure that both Muto and Rondon will give us something different and prove to be an upgrade on last season’s striking options of Gayle and Joselu.
Would you give either a start on Saturday?