Salomon Rondon: I've proved Rafa Benitez right at Newcastle United
Salomon Rondon hopes to be back at Newcastle United next season – playing for Rafa Benitez.
The striker took his Premier League goal tally for the season to 10 with a strike in Saturday's 3-2 home defeat to Liverpool.
Rondon's loan at St James's Park has been a huge success.
And the partnership he has forged with Ayoze Perez, and Miguel Almiron since January, has helped the club secure its top-flight status for another season.
However, Rondon may not be back at the club next term, despite Benitez's keenness to make the move permanent.
The club's hierarchy was unwilling trigger the 29-year-old's £16.5million release clause at West Bromwich Albion last summer because of his age.
Rondon eventually arrived on loan in a deal which saw Dwight Gayle go the other way.
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“I spoke with Rafa before I arrived here," said Rondon. "He tried to sign me, but you know what happened between the two clubs. It was not me.
"I've tried to do my best. I had a couple of injuries, but I came back and helped the team. I think I have done my job this season. After that, we will have to wait and see what happens."
Benitez's future at United is just as uncertain given that his contract expires on June 30.
Newcastle's manager is in talks with managing director Lee Charnley over a new deal at the club.
Benitez, however, will only commit to the club if he is given more financial backing in the transfer market and the freedom to sign who he wants – whatever their age.
The 59-year-old also wants investment in the training ground and Academy at United.
For his part, Rondon hopes that Benitez stays on Tyneside given the impact he has had in his three years at St James's Park.
“He has been here for three years now," said Benitez. "I think he did a really good job here to get the team back to the Premier League and keep them there. They played really well.
"The supporters love Rafa, the players have confidence with him. So it depends on the club."