Newcastle FINALLY break their transfer record: Is Almiron worth it?
Newcastle announced this afternoon that after fourteen years of transfer heartache, they’ve finally beaten the transfer record they broke when bringing Michael Owen to the club.
A club which I admire for their fanbase, atmosphere and wonderful stadium, the people of Newcastle finally have a player they can get really excited about. Paraguay international and MLS starlet Miguel Almiron. But who is he and is he worth £21m?
Having begun his career at Paraguayan giants Cerro Porteno, the attacking midfielder helped his hometown side win the 2015 Paraguayan Primera División title before moving to Argentina with Lanus.
After a tough start, Almiron flourished in an advanced midfield role under namesake Jorge Almiron. He was pivotal as Granate won the 2016 Argentina Premier Division title. He scored both in a crucial tie against local rivals Banfield in the semi-finals of the Clasico Del-Sur, and in the final later that year, against San Lorenzo.
In December 2016 Almiron joined MLS expansion side Atlanta United in a fee nearing $8m as a Young Designated Player. After a fantastic first year, hitting 9 goals in 30 matches and becoming an MLS All-Star, he kicked on again in the 2018 MLS season. He impressed dutifully, bagging 13 goals and 11 assists in 37 appearances from central midfield. He made a name for himself by arriving late in to the box and driving runs from deep. He was the star man alongside Josef Martinez as Atlanta strode their way to the MLS Cup title.
Benitez wanted him in the summer. Mitrovic money didn’t seem enough but finally Ashley has shelled out for what may or may not be the last major investment he makes in Newcastle United.
For the amount of stick Ashley gets you have to give him at least a little praise for this and the loan deal for Antonio Barreca. Yes, this should have been broken years ago when they were closer to the European spots. But this is a man who wanted to get rid of the club as soon as he could(and most likely still wants to), and still chucked a substantial amount of money at a player not proven at Premier League level. Credit where its due and all that.
So why Almiron? A young talent to get bums off seats, a dribbler, excitement personified. This kid has serious talent.
But the MLS isn’t the league to prove yourself as world class in. You can prove that you’re somewhat useful, but not star quality. The ability in the league is far too varied.
Was he the best option for Newcastle too? I know as a Liverpool fan I’d give them the current Adam Lallana for half of that price! At 24 years old he has plenty of potential to improve, and Rafa could really improve him as he did with players like Alonso and Sissoko at Anfield.
A great player but with a point to prove and the weight of hundreds of thousands of fans on his back. I desperately want to see him to do well. Whether he will is another matter.
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