If recent reports are to be believed, former Toon striker Salmon Rondon could well be available for NOTHING this summer as the financial implications of COVID-19 rip through the Chinese Super League.
His contract at Dalian Pro has one year remaining but a lack of cash means he could be allowed to leave – not for the £16m release clause Mike Ashley refused to trigger two years ago, but on a free transfer.
Rondon, 31, was a fans favourite on Tyneside as he bagged 12 goals and seven assists to help keep us in the top flight in 2018/19 and opened the door to a potential return to St James’ Park last year.
Funds are tight this window with ourselves being the only Premier League side without a summer signing – much to the frustration of the Toon Army – and Bruce admitted in a recent interview with Sky Sports that the majority of our business will be restricted to loans and free transfers.
Callum Wilson’s patchy injury record also means that we are crying out for a reliable backup striker. Rondon also made it crystal clear at the end of last season that he’d jump at the chance to rejoin the club, saying this in a “come and get me plea” to Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley:
“If you told me, ‘Salomon you have a chance to go to Newcastle again’, I would say, ‘Yes, I’ll go directly’ because the feeling you have when you are playing at St James’ is amazing.”
With Gayle our only other senior striker on our books now the likes of Andy Carroll and Yoshinori Muto have been released, this should be a no-brainer. Dwight may have bagged two against Norwich yesterday, but let’s not act like we’d be taking a BIG risk going into the new season with him as our only option behind an injury prone Wilson.
Potential resale value aside, Rondon fits the bill for all our transfer criteria as he is Premier League proven and cheap. Steve Bruce probably feels he could get the best out of a bullish target man like him, too.
If Rondon is on the move for nothing, this is a deal we should be all over – especially when you consider the boost it would give uninspired fans struggling to get excited about a return to St James’ Park.
Mike Ashley sanctioned a move for a half-fit Andy Carroll the summer Steve Bruce arrived, so he should be jumping at the chance to re-sign a fitter and much more capable ex-NUFC forward now we’re crying out for another option up top.