Salomon Rondon’s 55th-minute strike at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday proved just again what a great loan addition he has been for Newcastle United this season.
Given the turmoil of the club’s summer transfer window and the consequences that were suffered in the early stages of the season, Rondon has been the key difference to Rafa Benitez’s men turning their campaign around.
The 1-0 victory over Huddersfield Town over the weekend saw the Magpies move up to 14th on the Premier League table, making amends for last weekend’s stoppage-time loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
But Rondon’s composure in-front of goal on Saturday proved that despite Newcastle’s lack of signings in the summer, getting him on loan was a brilliant piece of business by Benitez, even if it might just be temporary.
Four goals and two assists in a team that has lacked creativity and direction for most of the season makes for impressive reading but it has been his link-up play with his teammates that has been the most impressive feature about the 29-year-old.
Saturday’s goal showed that Rondon’s positioning and patience came off at just the right time following a pass by Javier Manquillo. The Venezuelan’s physicality up-front and ability to hold the ball up by fending off defenders have probably given Newcastle better goal-scoring chances so far this season than it would have if he wasn’t part of Benitez’s team.
And Rondon could continue to terrorise opposition defenders when Newcastle host the struggling Fulham at St. James’s Park this coming Saturday.
With Ayoze Pérez playing just behind Rondon, the partnership also appears to be growing in confidence and stature as the season progresses and could the pair make it a long afternoon for Claudio Ranieri’s charges.
If Rondon continues this current form then Benitez might, however, try to force owner Mike Ashley’s hand to pin him down on a permanent deal from his parent club, West Bromwich Albion. Having fought to bring him to Tyneside over the course of the summer, Benitez must now force for his permanent arrival.