West Bromwich Albion have smashed their club record transfer fee after landing Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon for £12million.
Only last summer the Baggies paid £10million for Brown Ideye, but the Nigerian endured a difficult debut season in England having scored just four goals in the Premier League. This is clearly an issue which is of concern to Tony Pulis, who has already paid Liverpool £3million for Rickie Lambert and has now paid four times as much to entice Rondon from Zenit St Petersburg.
The 25-year-old has signed a four-year contract with the Hawthorns club, who begin their Premier League campaign with the visit of Manchester City on Monday evening. The Venezuela international, who has scored 13 times in 41 appearances for his country, is ineligible to line up against Manuel Pellegrini’s side, but is sure to play a key role in the coming weeks.
“He’s got a fantastic goalscoring record in some of the top leagues in Europe and for his country,” said Pulis. “He’s 25 years of age and still to fulfil his full potential. We hope he hits the ground running of course, but understand it might take him time to settle. I’m sure our fans will help him and get behind him. But we feel with age on his side, it’s a deal worth doing.”
Rondon first arrived in Europe when he signed for Las Palmas in 2008, and after scoring 14 goals in 47 appearances he moved across Spain to play for Malaga in 2010. 27 goals and 72 matches later he became one of the most sought after strikers around, and it was Rubin Kazan who paid €10million to take him to Russia, where he scored 25 goals in 56 matches.
Zenit then paid around €16million for his signature in January 2014, and he continued to find the back of the net on a regular basis with a record of 28 in 57 as he helped them win the Russian Premier League and Russian Super Cup. The 6ft 3in forward will now look to replicate this form in what many consider to be the best league in the world, as Albion look for a top-ten finish.