With Aleksandar Mitrovic completing his £22m move to Fulham, Newcastle look set to sign West Brom forward Salomon Rondon as his replacement.
Mitrovic never fully found his feet at St James’ Park, although he showed glimpses of his talent and was a fans’ favourite due to his passionate nature. Manager Rafa Benitez did not trust the Serbian enough for him to feature in his plans, while the move will benefit both parties; with Mitrovic finding minutes rare under Benitez.
With the likelihood of Rondon incoming, the Venezuelan looks set to be a starter in Benitez’s XI, ahead of new signing Yoshinori Muto and Joselu.
It is still unclear whether Rondon will be signed outright, as he has a £16.5m release clause. Reports state that United forward Dwight Gayle may be part of any potential deal, with a straight loan swap or player-plus-cash deal being mentioned.
Such implications are no surprise to Magpies’ fans, with transfers never being straightforward under Mike Ashley’s tight-fisted regime.
Should he sign, Rondon will offer a focal point to United’s forward line – an aspect which was missing last season. Dwight Gayle started most of United’s matches towards the end of last season and, while he is a different mould of forward who enjoys running in behind, Rondon will provide more of a physical presence.
Although not as mobile as Gayle, Rondon does possess some pace and can therefore be deemed as fit for a place in the Newcastle attack.
Rondon netted 28 goals in 118 appearances for the Baggies, while Newcastle fans will hope that the striker will have better service than he did at West Brom, with Jonjo Shelvey, Kenedy and Matt Ritchie all capable architects in the Newcastle squad.
Although many supporters would have wanted a higher profile striker through the doors, which is understandable considering the stature of the club as well as the Premier League television deal, they must understand that Benitez is doing his best under a difficult regime.
While Rondon is not the biggest name, his possible addition to the squad is an improvement which can only be a positive aspect in what has been a frustrating transfer window for the Magpies.
Written by Dawud Arshad
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