Rafa Benitez has spoken out about the possibility of signing on-loan striker Salomon Rondon on a permanent basis - saying that if he can start scoring goals consistently, then he is confident a deal will go through.
Rondon joined on loan from Championship side West Brom in the summer, and his fifth goal for the Magpies was enough to earn them an important 1-0 win away to Huddersfield at the weekend, sparking speculation about Newcastle moving to sign the Venezuelan on a permanent basis.
When asked about the Tyneside club's chances of landing the 29-year-old beyond the expiry of his loan in the summer, the Newcastle boss gave an upbeat, yet laid-back response, while asserting that there is room for improvement from the striker's perspective.
"It will be fine. Hopefully he can start scoring a lot of goals, and then you can ask me this in a few weeks and hopefully it can be positive then, too," Benitez said after the Huddersfield game, as quoted by Chronicle Live.
"I am happy with him, but still he can improve because I think he is doing a great job for the team, but we maybe have to support him a little bit more.
"If he has more support, if he has more crosses and passes into him, then he will score more goals because he can do it.
"We knew him quite well [before we signed him]. We knew that he could do what he is doing already. Still he can improve, and he knows he can improve - so he will work hard to try and improve."
The win at Huddersfield moved Newcastle up to 14th in the Premier League table, four points clear of the relegation zone as they continue to recover from a dreadful start to the season.
They host Fulham at the weekend, before trips to Liverpool and Watford immediately after Christmas.