Rondon has said in an interview today that Rafa Benitez first talked to him on the phone in June about moving to Newcastle, but it took over two months to get a deal agreed with West Brom to bring him here.
Rafa wanted to get him signed early in the summer, but Newcastle are so slow and pedantic with their transfer business that we finally got him to the club on loan just three days before the window closed.
Rafa wanted him signed permanently in June.
If he had been signed early, he would have been part of the Ireland training camp and would have played in our four friendly games – and been ready to go in the first game last weekend.
But no – Lee Charnley and company dragged it out for over two months and only managed a loan deal – but we paid a £2M loan fee and had Dwight Gayle go in the other direction.
We don’t know if Rafa will participate in another summer transfer window at Newcastle with his contract running out next June 30th.
Salomon Rondon – in action against Spurs
The Venezuelan striker was interviewed as reported in the Chronicle today:
“I first heard of the interest two months ago but negotiations were difficult. I was just waiting. When I gave the answer that I wanted to come here, I was expecting it to happen but it was difficult.”
“I remember the first call from Rafa I couldn’t believe it.” ‘Hello, this is who?!”. He told me they were interested in me and would I like to come.”
“Of course! It was a pleasure. I obviously know a lot about Rafa in the football world. It is a pleasure to work with him, to see his tactics, his ideas.”
“Yes, moving here permanently is my personal target. And the only way to do that, of course, is to score goals, train really, really hard to hold on to my place.”
“I feel lucky of course. The situation when West Brom went down was difficult and I am just really grateful to be back in the Premier League again.”
“Newcastle United all feels very big. Newcastle in the Premier League is famous.”
“I know all about the amazing South American players who have been here – Solano, Jonas Gutierrez, how really well they did here.”
“In my career, I have played in different leagues with different players and I know this is the biggest move of my career.”
“That is why I want to stay here permanently.”
“I know my stats and maybe they have not been really, really high but everyone knows that I was playing at West Brom.”
“In my first season there I scored 10 goals. Maybe that didn’t make everybody really happy, but it was also difficult.”
“If you are a striker, you want to score 15, 20 goals and it wasn’t like that, but I was happy anyway.”
“I like the pressure. But yes, I know all about the No 9. When I signed the contract here there was a big picture of all the top scorers – Alan Shearer at the top with 206.”
“So the pressure is big – it’s amazing to score 206 goals. But I want to make the fans proud by wearing this shirt like Alan Shearer did.”
“The goals he scored for the club and the hat-trick against Barcelona. That was big because in Venezuela, in fact, the whole of South America, everyone loves football.”
We learned today that West Brom have taken up their contract option of an extra year for Rondon so he will not be a free agent next summer.
That was something they had to do to protect themselves.
But we could have had Rondon for his relegation release clause of £16.5M, but Mike Ashley was unwilling to pay the money.
That was strange and surprising.
No – it wasn’t.
Rondon seems a typical Rafa player – ambitious, good technically and a very hard worker in training and in games.
We will see him soon where he works his socks off for the team.
It looks like he will become a popular player on Tyneside – very popular if he starts scoring those goals for us.