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Benitez takes trusted Premier League striker along with him to China

Venezuelan international Salomon Rondon has joined Dalian Yifang, where he will call Marek Hamsik and Yannick Carrasco team-mates.

Rafa and Rondon.
Rafa and Rondon.
Image: Richard Sellers

SALOMON RONDON HAS completed a move to Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, with the former Newcastle loanee being reunited with Rafa Benitez after leaving West Brom.

The Venezuela international striker had a £16.5 million release clause in his contract with the Baggies.

A number of clubs were reported to be interested in triggering that and securing the services of a proven 29-year-old striker.

Newcastle had been hoping to see a man who recorded 12 goals for them last season during a productive loan spell return to St James’ Park on a permanent basis.

Premier League rivals West Ham were also heavily linked with a move for the South American as they seek further firepower.

Rondon has, however, opted to take on a new challenge in Asia with a side now managed by his former Magpies boss Benitez.

West Brom announced the move in a statement on the club’s official website which read: “Salomon Rondon has today joined Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang for an undisclosed fee.

“The Venezuela international will be teaming up with Rafa Benitez, who led Newcastle United during his loan spell at St James’ Park last season.

“Rondon arrived at The Hawthorns in the summer of 2015 and made 120 appearances for the Baggies, scoring 28 goals.

The club wishes Salomon and his family all the very best in the future.”

A switch away from the Hawthorns for Rondon comes as no surprise, with the Baggies still stuck in the Championship. He recorded 28 goals for West Brom across 119 appearances but was unable to prevent them from slipping out of the Premier League in 2017-18.

Those in the West Midlands made it clear at the start of the summer that they would be looking to find a buyer for a player who had entered the final 12 months of his contract with the club.

West Brom’s technical director Luke Dowling said after seeing the Baggies suffer a play-off semi-final defeat to local rivals Aston Villa: “We’re quite happy to say that we will sell Salomon.

“We don’t want a player that’s had a season like that staying around with us and walking away on a Bosman.”

While linking up with Benitez again in China, Rondon will also be joining a Dalian Yifang squad that includes Belgium international forward Yannick Carrasco and former Napoli playmaker Marek Hamsik.

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