Salomon Rondon is in a race to be fit for Newcastle’s clash against Southampton this weekend and fans are beginning to grow frustrated.
The forward has been struggling for fitness all season and has only played in four Premier League matches so far.
But even if he was fit, there’s question marks as to whether the West Brom loanee would be available to deliver the goods at such an important time for the club.
What Rondon has looked like for Newcastle so far
Things looked promising on the opening day of the season when minutes after coming on, Rondon lashed a shot off the crossbar against Tottenham.
A deflection on the strike meant the Venezuelan was unlucky not to score and it looked like Newcastle had at least found a striker who could threaten the goal.
But since that one glimmer of quality, the 29-year-old has shown little spark.
The target-man has only managed two more shots this season, and both were off target.
This gives him the frightening statistic of 0% shots on target for the season.
On a more positive note, Rondon is one of the few Newcastle players with an assist to his name.
Against Manchester City, the striker played a brilliant pass to the back post from the wing, allowing DeAndre Yedlin to slot home.
And in truth this is what Rafa Benitez wanted Rondon for, to be a focal point for the team and create chances. If he could do more of this then he would at least be solving the goal problem inadvertently.
He arguably hasn’t played enough minutes to have a telling impact either. He has only played longer than 45 minutes twice. And one of those times was in the ultra-defensive Chelsea performance.
If he can recover from his current thigh injury, there’s a chance Rondon could at least improve the team’s chances going forward.
But until then, fans will continue to become restless as they desperately pine for a number nine of old.
Fans on Rondon fitness
Every headline or wee bit of news I read about Rondon is that he’s racing to be fit or hasn’t been matchfit since arriving. Can we have Gayle back yet? #NUFC
— Sam Jones (@SamJonesJourno) 24 October 2018
First Slimani now Rondon- we put our survival hope in an injured loan striker.
Where’s Ki? Great bit of business that.
Ten winnable games coming up but if you cannot beat a team as poor as Brighton were maybe you deserve to go down. Viva la championship.
— N.U.F.C (@theNUFCpage) 21 October 2018
Where the hell is Rondon?? What an utter waste of money again. Arrived unfit and overweight. Now injured with whatever. This is the worst forward line I’ve seen for us in years. #nufc
— mark nicols (@marknicols) 20 October 2018
Desperate for a striker! No investment and the the reality that we trade Gayle in for an injured Rondon. We need Rondon!
— Richard Wearmouth (@Rickardo_nufc) 20 October 2018
If Rondon has been injured all this time why did he go all the way to Panama to play in a bloody friendly????? 🤔
— ASHLEY OUT 🐷 (@Ashley__OUT) 28 September 2018