Since the signing of Miguel Almiron, Newcastle have improved massively on what has been their biggest glaring issue in the past few seasons; attack. Together with Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon, they’ve brought life back to the black and white attack – but that may not be the case for much longer.
Rondon joined Newcastle as a loan signing from West Brom and, after a shaky first few games, has become the physical, out-and-out number nine that the Magpies have been crying out for in recent times.
He’s become a fan favourite, and is firing home the goals to justify it.
So, understandably, almost everyone in St. James’ Park is keen to see the Venezuelan international signed on a permanent basis. The player is said to be keen too, enjoying some of his best form of recent seasons while wearing the black and white stripes.
However, no significant progress appears to have been made towards this deal becoming permanent yet. As is so often the case at Newcastle, it’s simply being left up in the air until likely too late.
Come the end of the season, there’s a real chance that West Brom may get promoted themselves and want to either hold on to Rondon, or demand a significantly higher price – which in the usual tight-fisted Newcastle terms, would mean being immediately priced out.
Even if the Baggies don’t come up, they may well demand a higher fee given Rondon’s stellar form on Tyneside this season. It’s a difficult situation that is only getting more and more precarious as the days go past.
But, now, it seems that the status of Rondon’s move to Newcastle isn’t the only potential catastrophe emerging in the Newcastle front three.
Spanish stalwart Ayoze Perez dropped hints of potentially exiting the club this summer too during the international break – a move that (even though some fans inexplicably dislike the hard-working forward) would severely and negatively impact Newcastle’s attacking outlets.
Speaking with Spanish station El Chiringuito TV, Perez was asked about his future and said: “I believe in the cycles. I think there is a moment where you plan things, to undergo a change and I think after five years, I think it’s the moment.
“To go back to your country and play for a big team and enjoy La Liga, would be something great for my career.”
While it should be made clear Perez didn’t categorically state he was leaving, and admitted times were good on Tyneside at the moment, it’s a very strange comment to have made if you’re not at least keeping one eye open for a possibility of a move away.
There is interest over in Spain in Perez too, with Newcastle even revealing recently that they have turned down bids for the Spaniard in recent windows.
While the player has received criticism, sometimes unjustly, from sections of the Newcastle support, there is no denying he is an important cog in the team. Both Rafa Benitez and his teammates value the Spaniard, and his workhorse attitude has seen him chip in with a good return of goals and assists in each of the past few seasons.
Losing him would be akin to a catastrophe for Newcastle’s attacking play, therefore.
Not least because the club would be unlikely to replace him with someone of equal calibre and work rate. When Perez was signed from Tenerife, he was a young, unproven player and therefore cost an equally small fee – especially considering the returns the club have since gotten out of him. To sign a Premier League-ready replacement of an equal standing would not come anywhere as cheap.
For a traditionally money-tight side like Newcastle are, that spells a real problem. There is little chance of the upper hierarchy at St. James’ Park signing off on an expensive out-and-out replacement, which would mean one of two other classic Newcastle options; either signing nobody, or picking up whatever is available at a cut-price rate in the bargain basement of the transfer market.
Either one puts Newcastle right back to square one in terms of attacking frailty. If we lose Perez, and we don’t keep Rondon permanently, then Newcastle could very well once again find themselves in real dire straights going forwards.
Just as there looked to be real hope and excitement for Newcastle’s attack, it seems as if there is just as easy a chance that the wheels are going to come crashing off.