Miguel Almiron: A Premier League flop or a key cog in the Newcastle United machine? The view from the USA
The signing of Miguel Almiron has many a Newcastle United fan scratching their head.
On the one hand they see a player with boundless amounts of energy, endeavour and graft, pace to burn and a top class attitude. But flip it round the other way and the statistics don’t lie – Almiron is yet to score or register and assist in 23 games at United. For a Premier League forward, that's just not good enough.
So why did former boss Rafa Benitez see fit to blow a reported £21million on the Paraguayan in his final play at United manager? And why has Steve Bruce until this point persisted with former Atlanta United attacker Almiron?
Here American journalist Roberto Rojas, who has roots in Paraguay, makes a case FOR 'Miggy'.
“One of the key components of Newcastle’s success this season has been Miguel Almiron,” said Rojas.
“He is yet to register a goal or an assist for the Magpies but the lack of numbers is not the be-all and end-all. Rather, his importance has been seen with his pace and skill of moving forward at speed has been an asset.
“Moments such as starting the move for Matty Longstaff’s Manchester United goal with a 40 yard pass to Allan Saint-Maximin, winning the free kick at West Ham and the pass for Saint-Maximin's assist to DeAndre Yedlin v Bournemouth. While has yet to hit the back of the net in England, this highlights his importance under Steve Bruce."
The player’s position, and his recent switch, must also be taken into consideration, while Rojas believes United and Almiron can take positives from his recent goalscoring international show.
“While the position he has been playing in (on the right) has been different than what he was used to during his career (playing either on the left side or in the middle as an attacking midfielder behind the striker), it appears Bruce is slowly trying to get him to play in the style that he wants him,” said Rojas.
“He had spoken highly of Almiron saying he ‘has never seen anyone in 20 years cover the distance or play with the intensity that he does. His running stats are incredible - as big as I’ve seen for any player. He’s multi-talented, I’m confident it’ll happen for him’.
“During the international break, he was vital in Paraguay's 1-0 win over Bulgaria where he scored the only goal of the game which proves that he definitely has an eye for goal and it will only be a matter of time before he does something in the Premier League.
“There might be a little bit of division on the player, but the importance of Miggy will be continue, as long as he is selected.”