Newcastle United winger Matt Ritchie has credited the signing of Salomon Rondon as something which has made a "huge difference" to the fortunes of the Premier League club in their battle against relegation.
The Venezuela international joined the Magpies last summer from Championship side West Bromwich Albion in a season-long loan swap deal which also involved Dwight Gayle, who headed in the opposite direction.
In 32 Premier League appearances for the Tyneside club, Rondon scored 11 goals and registered seven assists (Transfermarkt).
His exploits ultimately helped the club finish a creditable 13th place in the table, a great achievement considering they were still in the thick of it in February.
"I think the second half of the season we’ve been brilliant – as we were last season," Ritchie told the official Newcastle website.
"Obviously there were a few additions to the team in January, and I think Rondon has made a huge difference to us - not just his goals, but the way we can get up the pitch with him. The second half of the season has been really good."
Although Newcastle live to fight another season in the top flight, a lot of questions will need to be answered this summer, with the club still up for sale and the future of Rafael Benitez still to be resolved.
Rondon is set to return to West Brom once his loan spell expires unless a deal can be sorted out, and even Ritchie himself being linked with a departure from St James' Park, The Sun claiming that Stoke may swoop for him after contract talks reportedly failed between player and club.
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