By 90Min
June 21, 2019

When Salomon Rondon joined Newcastle on a season-long loan deal last summer, the response to his arrival was rather muted. 

Yet after an impressive first season on Tyneside, the Venezuelan forward has won the Toon fans over, establishing himself as a key player for Rafa Benitez's side.

After failing to reach double figures in terms of goals during his three seasons at West Brom, there were inevitably question marks over whether Rondon was really the right man to lead the line at Newcastle. 

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In the same transfer window, Newcastle had allowed Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic to leave, despite their impressive goalscoring feats.

Gayle had scored 23 goals in 2016/17 to help Newcastle return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, whilst Mitrovic had made his mark on loan at Fulham in the second half of the 2017/18 season, netting 12 goals in 17 appearances. 

It appeared logical that Newcastle would try to build their attack around these two players. Instead, the club decided to go a different way.

Rondon was brought in, but he started slowly. Newcastle failed to win any of their first ten league games, and Rondon did not find the net until November. 

Still, Benitez persevered with the striker and was eventually rewarded. Rondon hit top form in the second half of the season, finishing with 11 goals and seven assists in the Premier League to steer Newcastle to 13th in the table, 11 points clear of the relegation zone. 

Being directly involved in 18 of Newcastle's 42 league goals highlighted Rondon's importance to the team, with his ability to bring others in to play proving that he is far more than just a goalscorer. 

It was no coincidence that strike partner Ayoze Perez was able to score 12 times in the league - benefiting from the selflessness of Rondon.

After making such a positive impact, it seems clear that Newcastle should look to keep Rondon. Yet the question remains: are they doing all they can to retain his services? Not for the first time, the club are facing a period of uncertainty, and they risk allowing Rondon to move elsewhere.

Last month it was revealed that Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan, the cousin of Manchester City's owner, was ready to buy the club from Mike Ashley. The deal is yet to be completed though, as fans wait anxiously to find out whether they will have a new owner in place for next season.

Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

Consequently, Rondon's future hangs in the balance and there is no shortage of interest in the forward from elsewhere. 

West Ham and Wolves have been mooted as potential suitors, but Newcastle remains his preferred destination. The fans want him. Rondon wants them. Time for things to get straightened out, and time to do the one bit of business that is fundamental to this team moving forward.

Get it done Newcastle and get it done now.

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