Salomón Rondón completed a move to Everton in the closing hours of the summer 2021 transfer window.
Venezuelan Rondón joined from Dalian Professional in China, where he signed in July 2019 to reunite with Rafa Benitez following a productive season under the Spaniard at Newcastle United.
In his single St James’ Park campaign – on loan from the player’s first English club, West Bromwich Albion – Rondón scored 11 goals and provided seven assists from 32 Premier League appearances.
Rondón, who has 83 senior caps and a national team record 31 goals for his country, made his professional debut for Aragua FC in Venezuela at the age of 17.
The centre-forward was 18 when he first moved abroad, signing for Spanish club Las Palmas in the summer of 2008.
He became a regular starter in his second season, scoring 10 goals in 36 matches in Spain’s second-tier LaLiga2.
Rondón transferred to top division Malaga prior to 2010/11 and in his debut campaign netted at a rate of a goal every other game, finishing with 16 from 32 appearances.
His second season with Malaga qualified as an unequivocal success on both personal and collective levels.
The team, also featuring Ruud van Nistelrooy, Santi Cazorla and Isco, and managed by Manuel Pellegrini, finished fourth in 2011/12 to qualify for the Champions League play-off round.
Rondón played 37 of his side’s 38 league games – starting 29 – and contributed directly to 15 goals, scoring 11.
Malaga’s economic plight dictated that an offer of around €10m from Rubin Kazan was sufficient to take the player to Russia following two seasons in Andalusia.
Rondón’s new club overcame both Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid to reach the Europa League quarter-finals in his first season, the Russians eliminated 5-4 by Chelsea over two legs.
The player was on target six times in 11 league matches from the outset of 2013/14, adding a further four goals from the same number of Europa League games.
Following the Russian Premier League winter break, Rondón was purchased by Zenit Saint Petersburg.
Thrust into a compelling title race, Rondón thrived on the competition. His seven goals in 10 matches included a hat-trick in a convincing victory over former club Rubin. There were three assists, too, but Rondón’s team lost out by one point to eventual champions CSKA Moscow.
Redemption arrived in the form of a comprehensive league success in the following 2014/15 campaign.
Rondón again scored at a rate of one in every two games, 26 appearances yielding 13 goals, as manager Andre Villas-Boas’s team finished with a seven-point advantage over second-placed CSKA.
It was a first major club honour for Rondón – he won a Venezuelan Cup in 2008 with Aragua and progressed to the 2011 Copa America semi-finals where his team lost on penalties to Paraguay – and the player’s telling contribution was noted in the Premier League.
West Brom paid a club-record £12m to sign Rondón in time for 2015/16. The new man was briskly into his stride, scoring the only goal of a game at Stoke City on his second English top-flight start.
Rondón scored nine goals and created three from 30 starts in his opening Premier League campaign.
He struck winners against Everton and Manchester United – both 1-0 wins for West Brom – and supplied his side’s goal in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
Rondón featured in all 38 of West Brom’s 2016/17 Premier League fixtures – starting 32 – and scored eight times for a team that finished 10th.
He had a direct hand in 10 goals in 36 league matches in 2017/18 – Rondón scored seven and assisted three – but was powerless to prevent West Brom dropping into the Championship following a campaign when the club was managed by four different men.
Benitez pounced to take the striker to Newcastle, where Rondón was quickly installed as a genuine fan favourite and claimed the club’s player of the year prize.
He followed the manager to China in the summer of 2019 and was immediately in the goals, scoring three in his first three games.
Rondón added nine goals and four assists in 14 matches in the 2020 Chinese Super League season.
The player retuned to Russia for the closing months of 2020/21, joining CSKA Moscow on loan.
He scored four goals and provided two more in 10 games in the Russian Premier League.
Rondón left China following 28 appearances for Dalian and boasting another one-in-two scoring record, after netting 14 times and providing seven assists for the Asian club.