What’s Going Almiwrong?

Posted on October 29th, 2019 | No Comments |

Miguel Almiron
A familiar pose for Almiron since he came to Tyneside.
When Newcastle United signed Miguel Almiron from MLS side, Atlanta United on January 31st for a potential fee of up to £21 million, the signing was met with great excitement from the Newcastle fanbase, which was partly due to Almiron’s impressive 2018 record of 12 goals and 14 assists for Atlanta in US Major League Soccer, and partly down to the fact Mike Ashley had finally surpassed the previous club record signing of £16 Million, set back in 2005. However, since a seemingly promising start to life as a Newcastle player, Almiron has now made 20 appearances in the Premier League, with no goals or assists to show. So, what’s going wrong for Almiron?

Almiron made it into successive ‘teams of the season’ in 2017 and 2018 in the MLS, accumulating 21 goals and 28 assists. He was an attacking minded midfielder with the ability to act as the catalyst for counter attacks, tearing through defences with his blistering pace. During his time in the MLS, Almiron was known as a confident player, made to feel at one with the city after being part of the 2018 MLS Cup winning team. A £21 Million bid was enough to prise the Atlanta star away from the club and on deadline day, January 31st 2019, Miguel Almiron became a Newcastle United player.

Almiron made a promising start to life at Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle, showing glimpses of the pace displayed in his seasons in the MLS and at times linking up nicely with Ayoze Perez and Rondon. Come the beginning of the 2019/20 season, a change in leadership meant a change in direction for Newcastle, as Steve Bruce took over as manager and Perez and Rondon also left the club along with Rafa Benitez. Since the beginning of this season, Almiron has made 10 appearances in the Premier League, most of which coming from right wing. This is despite the fact that Almiron had previously only played on the right wing once since 2016 (Transfermarkt.co.uk), with most of his appearances coming from attacking midfield of left wing. Playing out of position in a league he’ll still be adapting to cannot be helping Almiron, however, his disappointing start to the season cannot be simply put down to an altered role.

Almiron has 0 goals and assists since signing for Newcastle, missing 5 ‘big chances’ and creating 0 ‘big chances’ (premierleague.com). Missing golden opportunities has little to do with the position your manager chooses to play you in and is far more of a reflection on a players’ ability and confidence. While Almiron’s ability has been proven in the MLS, it is yet to be shown in English football and his confidence in front of goal seems to be at an all time low. In a season where Newcastle will be flirting with relegation throughout, it is time for Almiron to step up to the plate and show he is worth the £21 Million.

All negatives aside, Almiron can hardly be accused of a lack of effort. His work rate is excellent, coming deep to show for the ball when Newcastle are struggling for possession and tracking back when needed. Almiron showed all the right signs against Wolves last weekend, making great runs off the ball and getting in some promising positions in behind the defence. It just seems that be that final piece of quality to score his first goal is eluding him at the moment, which is unfortunately having a detrimental impact on an already struggling team. Nonetheless, Almiron’s positive attitude and brilliant work rate makes you believe that one day soon it will all click for him. The quality shown in the MLS to contribute to 49 goals in 2 seasons is still there, a few good performances and Almiron will become a key member of the Newcastle squad, as he was at Atlanta.

NUFCBlog Author: Ollie Ollie has written 2 articles on this blog.

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