Salomon Rondon’s time in England has been inconsistent. Signed from Zenit in 2015 after scoring an impressive 17 goals in all competitions for the Russian side, he struggled to hit the same heights.
It’s taken him until 2018/19 to find his best form in the Premier League and, under a manager in Rafa Benitez who knows how to get the best out of his players, he’s flourished.
Rondon’s time under Tony Pulis was in stark contrast. For the large majority of his spell at the Hawthorns, he was desperately poor. It felt like classic Pulis, lump the ball into a robust forward and hope for the best.
But with the Magpies, Benitez has discovered there is more to his game.
During the course of the current season, he found the net 11 times in the Premier League – his best tally in the top-flight since arriving.
As a result, he could be about to make a permanent move elsewhere. The Daily Mail reported last week that Wolves had opened discussions with West Brom over a potential transfer.
The report claims he has a £16.5m release clause which for a side lacking squad depth is a no-brainer.
Rondon would be an astute signing for Wolves. He’d solve two main problems, no less than in their inability to find a plan B.
The Venezuelan would certainly bring a different way of playing, but, after signing a striker for £30m only a matter of months ago, is it not sending out the wrong message?
Jimenez has been a revelation since signing for Wolves and his permanent signing this year was the reward for his magnificent performances in Nuno Santo’s side.
It’s highly unlikely Rondon and Jimenez could play together, but it could provide them with an interesting new way of playing, especially in away games where they’ve struggled.
Against teams who like to sit deep Wolves will need more physical players to play off. Their Mexican forward is strong but he also provides his team with technical ability.
Rondon doesn’t find the net as regularly, but his all-round game is arguably better than Wolves’ number nine.
The Albion striker made just ten key passes less than his potential future teammate, having played in six fewer games. However, the evidence is there of his ability to play in a passing team and his link up with Ayoze Perez in the North East quickly became one of the most devastating in the league.
It’s something he may be able to replicate at Molineux should he join, and given Jimenez can play in a two as he’s done with Diogo Jota, there could be a case for starting the pair of them.
Where Rondon is undeniably better is in the air. In 2018/19, he won 68 aerial duels. If any further evidence was needed of the physicality he can bring, there it is.
Jimenez was one of the main culprits in some of Wolves’ poorer performances towards the back end of the season. For the 28-year-old it was a season devoid of competition and he could really benefit from the arrival of a new centre forward this summer. Arguably, it could take him to the next level.
As Nuno’s men gear up for the Europa League, their squad will need to be deeper. Signing Rondon will increase competition and also allow the manager to try new things.
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If there was one criticism of him it would be the inability to adapt. Nuno has played a similar system right the way through his tenure with Wolves but if they are to bring in a forward of Rondon’s nature it could change things dramatically.
The good thing for Wolves is that they don’t need to spend a great deal this summer. Therefore, paying his release clause simply has to happen.
Not only will it solve their issues on the road and in terms of depth, it’ll also get even more out of one of their star men.