Salomon Rondon Says 'There Was Something' to Manchester United January Rumours

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2020

Salomon Rondon of Venezuela celebrates after scoring against Bolivia during an international friendly football match at the Olimpico stadium, in Caracas, on October 10, 2019. (Photo by YURI CORTEZ / AFP) (Photo by YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
YURI CORTEZ/Getty Images

Former Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion striker Salomon Rondon has said there was substance in rumours linking him with Manchester United in January.

Gary Jacob and Martin Hardy of The Times reported the Red Devils were weighing a move for the Venezuelan, now at Chinese Super League side Dalian Professional, before they opted to sign Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.

Rondon told AS (h/t Sport Witness' Naveen Ullal): "There was something. It was not smoke. They were rumours and very strong. In the end, it could not be specified, and now I have to focus on Dalian."

The striker joined West Brom in 2015 after scoring 28 goals in 58 games for Zenit St. Petersburg. He scored the same number of goals in 120 games for the Baggies before joining Newcastle on loan for the 2018-19 season.

He played 33 times for the Magpies, notching 12 goals and seven assists. All but one of those strikes came in the Premier League, and he played a key role in Newcastle's survival last season under Rafa Benitez.

Because of Newcastle's defensive approach, he would typically cut an isolated figure at St James' Park, often being the lone player in an opponent's half.

However, his superb hold-up play made him perfect for the role, allowing him to keep the ball under pressure from defenders and bring in the likes of Miguel Almiron and Ayoze Perez when the Magpies launched a counter-attack.

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As football journalist Simon Edwards observed during last summer's Copa America, he's similarly effective for Venezuela:

Rondon then followed Benitez to Dalian last summer, where he has five goals and three assists in 12 games.

He and Ighalo are both 30, but the former experienced English football much more recently. The Nigerian left Watford in January 2017 after scoring once in 20 matches that season, though in the previous campaign, he had netted 18 goals in 42 games.

Rondon would likely have been a more useful acquisition than Ighalo, but Ighalo is only on loan at Old Trafford until the end of the season, so it was a relatively low-risk move for the Red Devils.