Salomon Rondon has opened up on his turbulent four-year stay at West Bromwich Albion, in an interview with The Athletic’s George Caulkin.
The 30-year-old arrived at the Hawthorns from Zenit Saint Petersburg in the summer of 2015, joining on a four-year deal for a club-record fee of £12m.
The Venezuelan scored 10 goals in his first season and found the net eight times the season after, but in 2017/18, he was unable to prevent the Baggies from falling into the Championship despite scoring 10 goals once again.
West Brom struggled to keep hold of Rondon in their first season back in the second tier, scoring 12 goals after joining Premier League side Newcastle United on a season-long loan deal.
In the summer just gone by, Rondon’s time at the Hawthorns came to an end, as the powerful forward reunited with Rafael Benitez and joined Chinese side Dalian Yifang for around £16.5m.
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His time in the West Midlands was ultimately marred by the club’s relegation to the Championship, but the striker has still taken time to reflect on his time at West Brom and hail the fans’ support.
Speaking to The Athletic, Rondon said: “I’m very thankful to Tony Pulis. I’d always enjoyed the Premier League because of how physical it is.
“I love that contact with big defenders, the fight, and West Brom gave me the chance to play in the best league in the world.
“I really liked Birmingham. I learned English with a teacher and everything was fantastic, the atmosphere, the food. The fans were really supportive.
“The disappointment was how my last season ended. We did the wrong things to stay in the division, some players didn’t want to stay, we didn’t start pre-season very well. It was no good and we went down.”
West Brom will be looking to return to winning ways as they face Bristol City this weekend – the Baggies sit four points clear at the top of the Championship table.
Rondon was a good servant for West Brom and it’s clear that he still holds the club in high regard.
The Venezuelan did what he could in his attempts to keep West Brom up, and scoring double figures twice in three seasons is not something that should be overlooked.
Ultimately, West Brom paid big money for a player and made over £4m in profit, and in the end, selling him turned out to be great business.