10 Premier League strikers that proved age doesn't matter
When Newcastle United announced the loan signing of Salomon Rondon last summer, the fans were understandably underwhelmed. This was a striker who had failed to score double figures in the Premier League despite being the driving force at West Brom.
After getting off to a slow start at St James’ Park, the 29-year-old opened his Premier League account for the club with both goals in a 2-1 victory against Bournemouth on 10th November. More goals followed against Everton, Huddersfield, Watford and Manchester City before the record signing of Miguel Almiron in January placed Rondon at the heart of an exciting attacking trio that helped fire the team even further up the table. He ended the season with 11 goals (which came in 7 victories, 2 draws and 1 defeat) and 7 assists which led to him being named the club’s player of the year.
With a £16.5 million release clause being activated following West Brom’s failure to gain promotion from the Championship, Newcastle United know exactly what they need to do to turn his loan deal into a permanent transfer. But that is where the problem lies. It has been reported that this deal has been one of the key sticking points during Rafa Benitez’s contract negotiation talks, with Mike Ashley and the club board seemingly unwilling to sanction that kind of transfer fee for a player who will turn 30 during the upcoming season.
Although the Premier League has had its fair share of golden oldies over the years – from Henrik Larsson to Liberian President George Weah – more often than not these players arrive on a free transfer or for a cut-price fee meaning low risk and potentially high reward. Premier League clubs have often been cautious about paying huge transfer fees for players over a certain age due to concerns about their potential sell-on value. In this article, we take a look at 10 Premier League strikers that prove sometimes it is better to throw caution to the wind.
#10 Graziano Pelle (Southampton)
An £8 million signing from Feyenoord, Pelle spent two seasons on the south coast between 2014 and 2016. During this spell bagged 23 goals in 68 Premier League games including a brace in a 4-0 win against Newcastle and another two-goal haul in an 8-0 drubbing of Sunderland. Whilst not particularly remarkable, he did enough to establish himself as a regular for Italy and his time at Southampton can be considered a resounding success. He ended both seasons as the club’s top goal scorer in the Premier League (albeit joint-top scorer in the 2015/16 season, level with Sadio Mane). He was also the last player to score double figures for the Saints in the Premier League with the top scorer in each of the following three campaigns ending with a paltry seven goals. From a financial perspective, the move was also a resounding success with the Saints turning over a tidy profit when he moved on to Shandong Luneng in China for £12 million – at the same time making him the joint-fifth highest paid footballer in the world.