One of the major positives at Newcastle United last season was the impact of striker Salomon Rondon during his loan spell.
The Venezuelan international formed a great partnership with Ayoze Perez and Miguel Almiron, which formed a major part of the side which saw them overturn a dreadful start to the Premier League in which they failed to win in their opening 10 fixtures.
This season hasn’t even begun, and Newcastle have already had another dreadful start to proceedings at St James’ Park. The exit of manager Rafael Benitez was quickly followed by the reported £30million sale of striker Ayoze Perez.
This would really be a double blow for Mike Ashley as he would not have only lost a Champions League winner as a manager, but could also see his former striker also be poached from under his nose.
Rondon was pivotal to the Magpies last season, with the experienced forward having been involved in 18 goals during his stint at the club.
The second highest scorer at St James’ Park, Rondon’s physicality was key to their game plan, with the striker winning five aerial battles on average per 90 minutes. [Source: WhoScored] These battles allowed his fellow forwards with more flair, such as Almiron, to get on the ball higher up the pitch.
Losing Benitez was surely enough damage for Newcastle, but to lose the race for their main forward last season to Dalian Yifang would surely send anger through the Magpies faithful.
As you would think that one of the main reasons Rondon would join the Chinese club would be Benitez after working with him last season, which implies if the Spanish manager had stayed put then the 29-year-old would have returned to the Magpies.