Newcastle United legend Malcolm ‘Supermac’ Macdonald is concerned that the club won’t be able to replace striker Salomon Rondon and, particularly, attacker Ayoze Perez.
The Venezuelan has returned to West Bromwich Albion after a Player of the Season campaign on loan at St James’ Park last term, while Perez departed for Leicester City recently.
‘Supermac’ has sounded the alarm: ‘Look at the numbers – Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon had a hand in 52 per cent of United’s goals last season – can you really replace that?,” he wrote in his column for The Chronicle.
“You can’t underestimate the important[ce] of Perez. I’m sad to see him go, he had a very, very, deft touch and was very clever with it. He was never a crowd favourite but that was because he did things that maybe went under the radar which the supporters never spotted. The touch which changed the direction of the ball ever so slightly or the defensive work.
“If I was the new manager coming in, I would certainly be looking to get in two new forwards who were aiming for 35 to 40 goals between them.”
Macdonald’s hope that the Magpies will be able to get two new attackers who will score 40 goals between them is misguided in the extreme. That’s just not realistic, is it? Newcastle didn’t have that last season with Perez and Rondon fully firing, so are they really going to sign two attackers who will be able to come up with that amount next time out? Probably not. As Macdonald says, you can’t underestimate how important Perez was to Rafael Benitez’s team. He provided goals and creativity, two things that were in short supply already on Tyneside, and now even more so. There’s a lot of pressure on club record signing Miguel Almiron to step up to the plate, but that’s a lot to put on someone who has never scored for the club. Rondon, too, was vitally important last campaign. He was magnificent and knitted everything together superbly. So ‘Supermac’ is right to be worried – things are looking pretty hairy at St James’ Park.