Salomon Rondon has hit back at Mike Ashley after missing out on a permanent move to Newcastle, saying he clearly “doesn’t understand football” if he felt he was ‘too old’ to sign at 29.
This comes just a day after fellow ex-Mag Aleksandar Mitrovic leaped to his defence, claiming he was a ‘great guy’ who had done some ‘good deals’ for the club – with his assessment of the NUFC owner being a far cry from the Venezuelan’s.
As Rondon reveals below, it seems he knew his time on Tyneside was over the minute Rafa Benitez left the club, knowing Mike Ashley was not interested in bringing him back a player he couldn’t make money on:
“It was a beautiful year for me last season. I loved it because the supporters were behind me all the time,”
“I enjoyed playing with the No 9 shirt, I scored goals and the atmosphere at St James’ Park was amazing. Always, I will remember that season.
“Was I disappointed to leave? Yes, because I was waiting for something. I was waiting for Rafa.
“When I went to the Copa America, I thought Rafa would sign for Newcastle. But he didn’t and when Rafa said he was going, my possibility to stay at Newcastle went down straight away.
“Rafa brought me to Newcastle and he fought with the owners to bring me there.
“So when Rafa said goodbye, I felt I would have to say goodbye as well. I understood in that moment I would not sign for Newcastle.”
“Maybe a few years ago, Newcastle would have given me a contract, but it looks like the owner’s rule is that, ‘Because he’s 29, when I sell I don’t get more money from what I’ve invested in him’.
“I get that because, for the owner, it is a business.
“But I showed to all of them that even though I am 29, I am still scoring goals, I still assist my team-mates, I am still working really hard, I still feel like a young guy.
“I have had 12 years in Europe and no bad injuries, I try to eat properly and I am professional.
“When you hear the comments about my age, those people don’t know about football.”
In many respects this is what we already know, but to hear it from the horses mouth is pretty damning – especially when this is our player of the season and the man who played a huge part in keeping our club up last season.
To be told you’re ‘too old’ to be re-signed permanently after having such a influential season really is proof that Mike Ashley doesn’t have a clue about football – only business.
Yet, is it good business to ship out a proven striker available for £16.5m (albeit with agents fees and big wages) and instead sign a £40m striker who represents a huge risk given his age and lack of experience in Europe’s top leagues?
Time will tell, but failing to keep Rafa and Rondon this summer could prove to be an absolutely devastating mistake.