Howe’s Right Dilemma.

Posted on December 12th, 2022 | No Comments |

Miguel Almiron.
A completely transformed Miguel Almiron.
As I think most fans would agree, Eddie Howe and Newcastle United Technical Director, Dan Ashworth, have done as well as can be expected in augmenting the squad with their much improved transfer budget. As defenders, midfielders and finally, a new striker came in, it seemed as if logically, the next area for them to make a move would be on the right wing. Rumours about signing James Maddison from Leicester City have been rife for months but in the meantime, what on earth has happened to Miguel Almiron?

Though he has always been a well liked player who always put a shift in since he came to the club in in the January window of 2019, he just didn’t have that little bit extra, the split second judgement in the box, the finishing etc, and at the age of 28, it looked like it would never quite happen for him after all. This season though, after showing some improvement in the first few games of the season, his transformation finally came into full effect at the beginning of October against Fulham where Almiron gave a stunning performance, scoring 2 goals in a 4-1 away victory over the Cottagers. Between then and the international break for the World Cup, Almiron scored 7 goals in 8 games, more than he scored in his previous two seasons (6). Instead of snatching and putting his shots wide or over the bar, he was now displaying casual confidence and just smashing his balls past the goalkeeper and into the top corner. He isn’t the only one though, the improvements of old hands like Joelinton and Fabian Schar haven’t gone unnotced neither, but Almiron’s has been the most spectacular. Overall, importing some top notch players like Guimarães, Trippier and Botman has undoubtedly improved the team a lot, but the vast improvement of old hands like Almiron and Joelinton also seem to indicate a much improved training regime too.

Though much has been written about Newcastle’s supposedly ‘unlimited’ transfer budget, the truth is that it IS limited by fair play regulations that didn’t exist for Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris St. Germain when they were spending like drunken sailors. What I’m saying is that though there will probably be further improvements in the January window, has Almiron’s truly remarkable achievements this season been enough to shift the emphasis? On the other hand, does Almiron still have to prove he has what it takes to maintain his excellent form over a whole season?

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