Newcastle United have confirmed on their official website the signing of striker Salomon Rondon on loan for the entirety of the 2018/19 season. The 29-year-old has been repeatedly linked with a return to the Premier League this term after suffering relegation with West Brom last time round, and it is Rafa Benitez’s Magpies who have got a deal done for the forward, with Dwight Gayle going the other way.
And with a deal for Rondon done, it’s now even more imperative that Benitez’s side retain the services of winger Matt Ritchie, valued at £10.8 million by Transfermarkt, beyond the August 9 deadline.
Ultimately, the future of the Scotland international has been subject to speculation over the summer to suggest that he could well leave St James’ Park prior to the start of the new season, which itself would be a huge loss for Benitez and his side given how influential he was last term.
Significantly though, it would be an even bigger loss now Rondon has made the move to the club, as there are few better in the Newcastle squad at crossing the ball, be it from open play or indeed a set piece, than Ritchie.
The 28-year-old laid on six assists in 35 Premier League matches last term to underline just how important he is from those wide areas, with the winger causing consistent problems with his delivery that can only be of benefit to a big target man like Rondon, who is clinical aerially and will have a big presence in the penalty area.
Nobody in Benitez’s squad created more chances than Ritchie (47) last season – taking out the best crosser and supplier of the ball, when there is now someone to aim at in the box in Rondon, would be absolutely senseless. That’s not to say that others aren’t adept at doing just that, but Ritchie certainly appears to be the most effective from those positions.
Thus, despite reported interest in his services during the summer window, Newcastle simply have to retain Ritchie beyond Thursday’s deadline, even more so now Benitez has his ideal target man in Rondon to benefit from the Scot’s incredible deliveries from out wide.
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