Salomon Rondon admits he does not know if he will be a Newcastle player next season.
The Venezuela international scored his 11th goal of the season in Saturday evening’s 3-2 home defeat by Liverpool to further underline how important he has been to boss Rafael Benitez’s team during his season-long loan spell from West Brom.
Rondon’s hopes of staying at St James’ Park could depend in part on Benitez’s continued presence as the 59-year-old Spaniard continues talks over a contract extension, but having made a significant impact this term, he seems keen to stay.
The striker, whose belated arrival last summer was a source of intense frustration for his manager, said: “When I arrived here, I felt like I was at home. I’m settled here, my family’s happy here.
“It’s difficult to say something now because of the situation – we don’t know what will happen with Rafa.
“We have to wait and after that, if I stay, I just bring the same things: hard work, score goals and try to help the team.
“When I arrived here, Newcastle was the first choice, but you never know what happens in football. At the moment, I have to go back to West Brom and wait on whether West Brom get promoted or not.”
At 29, Rondon’s age is an issue for the Mike Ashley regime, which has traditionally been averse to investing in players who by virtue of their age, would have little or no sell-on value at the end of a contract.
In addition, it is understood the player would cost the Magpies £16.5million if the Baggies are not promoted via the Sky Bet Championship play-offs, but in excess of £20million if they are, while his form for the club this season is likely to have alerted alternative suitors.
Whatever happens, Rondon has enjoyed his time on Tyneside and if that does draw to a close with next Sunday’s final-day Premier League trip to Fulham, he will be grateful for the chance he has been given.
He said: “It’s a difficult moment for me because I felt the support for all the team and for me, every game, so I have to say thank you to the supporters, the staff, Rafa and my team-mates.
“I don’t know what will happen in the future. I have to go to my national team – I will play in the Copa America – and we will see what happens.
“But I always say if I can’t stay, I have to say ‘thank you’ to everyone at the club.”
Stay updated with the latest news, gossip and football stories by following us @Football_P