Early into his Newcastle United career, and it was looking like Rafael Benitez made a mistake by bringing Salomon Rondon to St. James’ Park.
Fast forward to now, though, and the 29-year-old will have to go down as one of the signings of the season.
Rondon finishes the campaign as Newcastle’s second highest scorer in the Premier League with 11 goals, one behind Ayoze Perez, and has since been praised by ex-Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino for his exploits.
“Rondon’s impact at Newcastle has been one of the main reasons why they stayed up,” Cascarino explained after including Rondon in his talkSPORT Premier League Team of the Year (one player from each team) over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
“He turned up from West Brom injured in the summer and he didn’t quite get going in his first ten games, but from that moment, to a man, I can’t think or a more important player at any club. The way he led the line for them, I just had to go for him.”
Including Rondon over the Arsenal duo might be a bit of a stretch, but it is not hard to understand why Cascarino holds the West Brom loanee in such high regard.
It is not just his goalscoring proficiency that has been impressive this term. As ever, the Venezuela international’s hold-up play was borderline elite.
He linked up with Perez so well as the two started to form quite the partnership as the season progressed.
All of that, on top of the sevens assists he also provided, has made Rondon an incredible capture for Newcastle, one they must now do everything in their power to retain.
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