By Wayne Veysey
West Ham are set to lose out to Chinese club Dalian Yifang in the race to sign striker target Salomon Rondon, Football Insider understands.
A source with knowledge of Rondon’s situation has told Football Insider that he has agreed personal terms with the Chinese Super League outfit and is set to be reunited with Rafael Benitez in the coming days.
The club, who are backed by the wealth of billionaire Wang Jianlin, China’s fourth richest man, are poised to trigger the £16.5million release clause in the contract of the West Brom forward.
The Championship club can’t afford to keep the 29-year-old after losing in the play-offs last season and failing to return to the Premier League at the first attempt.
West Ham have submitted bids for the Venezuela international, with the latest believed to be of £14million, but they have been trumped by Dalian Yifang.
The super-rich club announced the appointment of Rafael Benitez as their new manager last week on a salary of £12million per year.
Rondon will be paid at a similar level in a move that reunites the duo after they worked together so successfully during Rondon’s season-long loan at Newcastle United.
He scored 12 goals from 33 matches in all competitions and won the club’s Player of the Season award.
Football Insider revealed last month that Wolves had ended their interest in the front man due to the cost of the deal, and Newcastle have been keen on signing him permanently reluctant to pay high wages and such a major transfer fee for a player about to turn 30.