Salomon Rondon says he was relieved to finally join Newcastle last week and hopes to become the club’s latest No.9 star. The Venezuela international joined the Magpies from West Brom on a season-long loan deal before the transfer window closed, with Dwight Gayle moving in the opposite direction.
The 28-year-old came off the bench and looked lively against Tottenham in the opening-day defeat in the Premier League on Saturday and Rondon hopes to make a big impact at St James’ Park.
The striker says he knew of Newcastle’s interest from early on in the summer and he was delighted to finally make the move to the North East.
He told the Newcastle matchday programme: “It’s a big club in the Premier League and I knew about the interest of the gaffer, and I’m happy that finally the deal is done and I’m here.
“It was a long time – the clubs were talking. But now I’m focused on the season and helping my teammates get points and reach our targets to do well this season.”
Rondon admits the lure of working with Rafa Benitez appealed to him and he was happy to take the iconic No.9 jersey, following in the footsteps of the likes of Malcolm Macdonald, Andy Cole and Alan Shearer.
He added: “It’s a big decision, but when you know about the interest of the gaffer; the most [important] thing for the player is that. I wanted to be here with the gaffer and try to reach the targets.
“I am behind big people who wore this number, and I am motivated, to be honest. I want to score goals. I know the history behind this number but I don’t feel pressure – feel motivated.
“To take the No.9 is a pleasure for me.”