The Miguel Almiron saga has come to a close with Newcastle United sealing a £21m club-record transfer for the Paraguayan. The versatile midfielder will be leaving Atlanta United after hoisting the MLS Cup trophy with the five stripes. But Almiron’s arrival in Tyneside shows that some people may need an introduction on who he is.
"I've never really heard of him, in all honesty. It's not a signing that makes you go 'Oh wow, this is inspiring."
Danny Mills is sceptical about #NUFC's potential record signing Miguel Almiron.
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) January 29, 2019
To begin, Almiron is young, but he is a winner. He captured the Argentinian Championship in 2016 before making his move to Atlanta United with Club Atletico Lanus. Upon arriving in MLS, Almiron took the league by storm at Tata Martino was able to get the best out of his exciting hybrid playmaker leading to 21 goals and 28 assists over his two years in the league. This led to Almiron being one of the driving forces behind Atlanta United capturing MLS Cup in the 2017/18 season as well.
But now Almiron is leaving Atlanta for his next challenge and while he carries expectations and skepticism by being one of the most expensive exports ever from Major League Soccer; there isn’t a better person to carry the torch. Almiron is a regular for the Paraguay national team that has knocked off Colombia and played all of the South American powerhouses close during World Cup Qualifiers, so he is used to the pressure of the big stage. With the move being to Newcastle, Almiron also won’t have the added pressure of being in London or Manchester which will allow him time to settle in.
Almiron also goes about everything that he does with a smile on his face which always helps in a relegation battle.
And smiles. LOTS & LOTS OF SMILES. I know many Newcastle fans have been negative & down in the dumps lately because of the recent state of the club but he’s hoping a little bit of cheer from Miggy will bring positive vibes to Tyneside. Don’t believe me? Look at the team photos. pic.twitter.com/EcW67X08ZO
— Roberto Rojas (@RobertoRojas97) January 29, 2019
So what’s Rafa Benitez getting to add to the Newcastle attack?
Almiron plays centrally as a number 10 but he is more of a floater who will play off of the striker or slot out to the wing which is perfect for the 5-4-1 or 4-4-1-1 formations that Benitez employs. Almiron has the speed to beat defenders off the dribble while also being a good enough passer to create chances for Salomón Rondón who has been starved for service due to the regression of Kenedy and Jonjo Shelvey not being able to stay healthy this year.
Almiron will also challenge Matt Ritchie for free kick duties as he has a wicked left foot. Considering that Newcastle emphisise set plays, more of this will be useful:
Miguel Almirón with the absolute screamer of a free kick! https://t.co/ltfJAYLdR9
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) November 11, 2018
Almiron also has no issues tracking back on defence which is an aspect of his game that gets overlooked due to the gaudy attacking statistics. Per whoscored, Almiron averaged 1.9 tackles per game and 0.8 interceptions per game while firing off 3.8 shots per game and threading 2.1 key passes. These are numbers from a well-rounded player who will contribute to the team.
This isn’t to say that Almiron will hit the ground running in the Premier League because MLS teams are only gearing up for preseason right now. But as he rounds into form and becomes acclimated to the team, Almiron can easily be one of the bigger impact January buys. Newcastle play Huddersfield and Burnley at the end of February when we should be expecting more playing time for Almiron and those are perfect games to ease him into things.
Almiron is carrying the torch of MLS as well as the vision of what Atlanta United is selling to players who join the team. You may not know the name yet, but by the end of the season, Miguel Almiron will be a well-known commodity among the Premier League faithful.