Date: 20th May 2019 at 7:30am
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OPINION

This summer could either be brilliant or terrible for Newcastle United.

The Magpies have enjoyed a really positive second half of the season, and a 13th placed finished, plus the optimism brought to Tyneside by the signing of playmaker Miguel Almiron, means that things finally feel as if they could be looking up for the Toon Army.

All of that could change with a couple of high profile departures, though.

The most obvious figure who could be on his way out is manager Rafa Benitez, who is still yet to put pen to paper on a new deal at St. James’ Park, but he certainly isn’t the only man who could leave.

Another presence United will be keen to hang onto is Salomon Rondon.

The Venezuelan has been a revelation since signing on loan from West Brom last summer, and has hit 12 goals and assisted seven more during his time in the north east.

If an agreement over a permanent deal cannot be met with the Baggies, however, he too will be on way out of St. James’, and that would leave the Magpies with a big problem.

The past few years of relatively barren front lines have proven just how hard it can be to replace a player of the South American’s talents.

If Rondon does go, however, then United should turn to Ishak Belfodil.

In a report detailing potential replacements for Rondon, the Chronicle namecheck the 6’4″ Algerian as a possible Toon recruit, and he sounds like he could be ideal.

His size and natural physicality would make him a like of like swap with Rondon, while his record for Hoffenheim this season – 17 goals in 35 appearances – shows that he can clearly cut it at the top level of European football.

In fact, in every measurable category of his attacking skills, except assists and pass count, Belfodil outstrips United’s number nine.

Obviously, nobody wants Rondon to go, but if he does, Belfodil could be the perfect man to solve Newcastle’s problems.