This is why Rafa Benitez spent most of his summer rowing with the Newcastle hierarchy over Salomon Rondon.
The boss wanted to sign him for £16.5million from West Brom but owner Mike Ashley shuddered at the prospect of a player turning 29 arriving on a bumper contract.
Finally, with just days of the window to spare, he joined on loan. Three months later, however, and Rondon was yet to score in the Premier League. He had seen more of the treatment room than the penalty box.
Salomon Rondon celebrates after scoring his second goal to put Newcastle 2-0 up against Bournemouth on Saturday
Rondon’s goals were his first for Newcastle since his move from West Brom over the summer and he celebrated in style in front of the jubilant home fans at St James’ Park
Rondon beats Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake to the ball to power a header past goalkeeper Asmir Begovic
The Venezuelan striker is mobbed by fellow team-mates Ki Sung-Yeung and Ayoze Perez after netting the opener
A fired-up Rondon clenches his fists after netting at the second attempt to put Newcastle into the lead
Rondon fires through a sea of Bournemouth bodies following neat work from Newcastle full-back DeAndre Yedlin
That all changed here. Two goals, three points and one heroic performance very much in keeping with the fabled No.9 jersey.
All that was missing was the hat-trick goal, and only Asmir Begovic’s toes denied him that in the 89th minute.
Supporters have struggled to accept the notion of Rondon being Benitez’s top target. Well, they now know why he refused to give up on the Venezuelan powerhouse.
He opened the scoring on seven minutes when he volleyed in the rebound after Begovic had saved his initial effort. Right-back DeAndre Yedlin deserves credit for the assist, burning by Adam Smith to cross from the by-line.
Rondon’s second on 40 minutes was Alan Shearer-esque. Kenedy was the supply line this time, serving up a delightful centre from the left and the striker did the rest as he muscled across Nathan Ake and flashed home a header with more power than most mere mortals could generate with their feet.
There were then eight minutes of injury time after lengthy treatment to Bournemouth defender Smith, who crumpled to the turf when preparing to take a free-kick. It looked innocuous but it proved anything but with Smith leaving on a stretcher with his knee in a brace.
Jefferson Lerma pulls a goal back for Bournemouth just before half-time with a looping header from Ryan Fraser’s cross
Colombian defensive midfielder Lerma is given a high five by Bournemouth team-mate David Brooks after scoring
Anyone nipping off in a bid to beat the interval queues missed an entire half’s worth of action. Newcastle should have been three up when Kenedy swapped passes with Ayoze Perez and found himself in the clear. The Brazilian sought to stab beyond Begovic but the goalkeeper spread his frame to block.
Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson then came within a fingertip of celebrating this week’s England call-up with a goal. The fingertip, though, belonged to Begovic, Wilson having headed towards his own top corner from Ki Sung-yueng’s vicious free-kick. There were mitigating factors for the striker, for seconds earlier he had been floored by a thunderous Federico Fernandez challenge, a tackle so fierce it left you feeling dazed having witnessed it, never mind receiving it.
Never did the hosts imagine they would enter the break leading by just one, especially after Martin Dubravka’s brilliant save to flip Steve Cook’s header over the crossbar. But, from the resulting corner delivered by Ryan Fraser, Jefferson Lerma stooped to arch his header above and beyond Dubravka.
Salomon Rondon (pictured) bemoans a missed chance during Newcastle’s game with Bournemouth at St James’
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe (pictured) watches on during his side’s match against Newcastle on Saturday
Jordon Ibe (left) sees his shot blocked by Paul Dummett (right) as Bournemouth push for an equaliser at St James’ Park
Former Liverpool winger Ibe (pictured) places his head in his hands after another near-miss against Newcastle
Rondon and Matt Ritchie had chances to re-establish the two-goal cushion after the break but both players steered wide from close range.
It ensured a nervy finale and Jordon Ibe fired over having been sprung clear by former Newcastle midfielder Dan Gosling.
Then came the moment which would have raised the St James’ Park roof as Rondon strode free only for his shot to clip the boot of Begovic and roll wide.
It mattered not and the place erupted moments later on the sound of the whistle which confirmed back-to-back victories for the Magpies.
Rondon milked the acclaim, and not far behind him was Benitez. ‘I told you so’, he may well have mused.
Simon Francis (right) tackles Newcastle wide man Kenedy (centre) during the 2-1 home win at St James’ Park
Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook (left) clashes with Newcastle United’s Salomon Rondon (right) late on at St James’ Park
Both teams observed a minute’s silence ahead of kick-off as part of the Remembrance Sunday commemorations
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez (right) celebrates his side’s win with defender Ciaran Clark after the final whistle
MATCH FACTS, LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
Newcastle: Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie (Hayden 74), Ki, Diame (Atsu 80), Kenedy (Clark 78), Perez, Rondon.
Subs not used: Murphy, Hayden, Manquillo, Joselu, Darlow.
Scorers: Rondon (7), (40)
Bournemouth: Begovic, Francis, Steve Cook, Ake, Smith (Daniels 30), Ibe (Defoe 82), Lewis Cook, Lerma (Gosling 45), Fraser, Brooks, Wilson.
Subs not used: Boruc, Surman, Pugh, Mousset.
Scorers: Lerma (45+6)
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)
Season at a glance
- Premier League
- Premier League
- League One
- League Two
- Scottish Premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- Ligue 1
- Serie A
- La Liga