Salomon Rondon ready to repay Rafa Benitez’s faith after completing 11th-hour deadline day move to Everton

The striker will be reunited with the Toffees manager for a third time having played under him at Newcastle United and Chinese Super League club Dalian Professional.

<p>Salomon Rondon shakes hands with Rafael Benitez at Newcastle United. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images</p>

Salomon Rondon shakes hands with Rafael Benitez at Newcastle United. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Salamon Rondon is relishing being reunited with Rafa Benitez for a third time after completing an 11th-hour deadline day move to Everton.

The striker has joined the Toffees from Chinese Super League club Dalian Professional on a free transfer.

The 31-year-old has signed a two-year deal at Goodison Park with the option of a third.

The Venezuelan enjoyed success under Benitez during a season on loan at Newcastle United and he followed the Spanish manager to China when he left St James Park in 2019.

Salomon Rondon in action for Dalian Pro in China. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

Rondon’s reaction

“I’m really glad to be back in the Premier League. It’s a competition I enjoyed playing in and where I felt the fans’ support in every game,” Rondon told Everton’s club website.

“Defending the colours of a club with a history as rich as Everton’s fills me with pride.

“I can’t wait to pull on the shirt and be reunited with Rafa Benítez, a coach who has changed the way I understand the game. I’m really grateful for the faith he’s shown in me.”

Deadline day deal

Rondon had been expected to join Everton throughout deadline day but the deal was only completed at the last minute after it took time to resolve a financial issue with his club Dalian.

The Blues had parted company with striker Moise Kean, who rejoined Juventus, earlier in the day and the Italian required replacing.

Rondon will provide cover and competition to current strikers Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Rondon’s career

The former Malaga forward is back in the Premier League, having had spells with West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle earlier in his career.

Rondón scored 11 goals and provided seven assists from 32 Premier League appearances for the Magpies under Benitez during the 2018-19 season.

He spent part of 2021 on loan from Dalian at Russian Premier League side CSKA Moscow, where he scored on his debut.

The striker has also been capped 82 times by Venezuela and is their all-time scorer with 31 goals.

Rondon could make his debut when Everton host Burnley on Monday, September 13.