Ex-Mag Salomon Rondon insists he would have signed a permanent deal at Newcastle United two years ago – but the club didn’t even give him a decision to make.
The Venezuelan was outstanding over the 2018/19 season, bagging 12 goals and 7 assists during his loan spell at St James’ Park.
It was widely reported that a clause existed in that deal, allowing us to sign the striker for £16.5m at the end of the season – not that Mike Ashley seemed remotely interest in doing so, due to the fact he was nearing his 30’s.
A few years on, Rondon has continued his great form under Rafa Benitez, being involved in 21 goals in 28 games for Chinese side Dalian Yifang, however he clearly still regrets the decision to deny him a permanent stay on Tyneside:
“It’s about decisions and it wasn’t my decision,”
“If Newcastle had offered me a deal, if they’d said ‘Do you want to stay here?’, then of course I would have stayed.
“If I could turn back time, I would do it 100 per cent, I would be there,”
“To be honest, that season was the best I’ve ever had.
“Not just because I scored goals, but because everything around me was so right, from the school of my children, to the city, the people, my family being happy.
“I was working really hard in every training session to be in the team and I did everything properly for that. I was playing.
“Everything was perfect.”
As shared by The Chronicle today, Rondon has also revealed what South American Tino Asprilla told him before his move to Newcastle United:
“You have to fight for everything there — that’s my culture, too.
“When I first arrived, I received a message from Tino Asprilla. He said, ‘Maybe you’ll score or maybe you won’t. If you score, that’s good, because a striker lives for goals, but if not, my friend … run, tackle, fight.’ That’s what I did. That’s the reason I loved it so much.
“There’s a picture of me when I signed, walking out of the tunnel towards the pitch with my kids.
“It’s one of my favourite photos. It’s such a big stadium, but it’s also closed in, tight, like it’s leaning over you.
“Whether you’re winning or losing, you can feel the supporters — ‘Come on, come on, COME ON!’ – and if the ball is there and you make a tackle, they’re like ‘WAAARRRGHHH!’
“The fans push you. If the ball is flying towards the line, you have to run, try to take it and play. That’s my nature.
“Everything for me there was really fantastic. I just felt, ‘this is my place’.”
We may have found the man we’ve been looking for in Callum Wilson, however Mike Ashley’s decision to spend £40m on Joelinton over a £16.5m move for Salomon Rondon is one that will always leave a bitter taste in my mouth.
Rondon may have fallen outside of his tedious transfer policy, but he looked a totally different animal at Newcastle United and was ageing like a fine wine – not only scoring goals but setting up his teammates, chasing every ball and leading the line as good as anyone could have in the circumstances.
We’ve had plenty strikers sign on loan and do next to nothing, with Slimani, De Jong and Doumbia coming to mind, but Salmon Rondon came alive in a black and white shirt and was a different kettle of fish.