Salomon Rondon has confirmed that he would have signed for Newcastle United in the summer transfer window if the Tyneside club wanted him.
The 30-year-old spent last season on loan at St James’ Park from West Brom but it was widely reported that Mike Ashley was unwilling to invest in the Venezuela international and sign him permanently due to his age.
Rondon eventually joined Rafa Benitez at Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang and while he admits he is happy in the Far East, a chance to play for Newcastle for another season would not have been something he would have turned down.
“My transfer to Chinese football was somewhat sudden,” Rondon told Spanish news outlet Todo Fichajes.
“I would have continued in Newcastle if they had given me the opportunity, but it couldn’t.
“Now I am very happy in China, the league is quite different and the language is totally different, but it is a matter of adapting.
“The impact that the Chinese league is having and the money it is investing to grow is something that caught my attention.
“Rafa Benítez gave me the opportunity to come and live this experience and I did not dismiss it.”
Rondon was superb in his time at St James’ Park. He scored 12 goals and supplied seven assists in 33 appearances across all competitions for the North-East club as he helped them avoid relegation in Benitez’s final season at the helm. Joelinton was signed to replace Rondon in the summer but the Brazilian has so far only scored the one goal for the Magpies. Rondon had to wait until November last season before he bagged his first Premier League goal, so it would be unfair to compare him and Joelinton just yet, especially as the Brazilian is yet to fully settle down. Rondon has since moved to China and according to JPIMedia head Ross Gregory, is earning a whopping £250,000-a-week. Would Rondon have turned down £250,000-a-week to stay put at Newcastle where he was reportedly picking up £70,000-a-week? It would have been a tough decision to make but a player now in his 30s might not have been blamed for taking the money.