Rafa Benitez reacts to Newcaslte United's £20m move for Miguel Almiron

Rafa Benitez reacted to the imminent arrival of Miguel Almiron on Tyneside – after Newcastle United stunned Manchester City.

Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 9:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 10:28 pm
Rafa Benitez.

Benitez’s side came from behind to beat the Premier League champions 2-1 at St James’s Park tonight thanks to goals from Salomon Rondon and Matt Ritchie.

And the result, which lifted the club up to 14th in the Premier League, came after United had a club-record £20million bid accepted by Major League Soccer team Atlanta United for midfielder Almiron.

Rafa Benitez.

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The 24-year-old is due to undergo a medical, and discuss personal terms, at the club today.

Newcastle’s club record fee remains the £16million that was paid for Michael Owen in 2005 before Mike Ashley bought the club.

Asked about the Almiron deal, United manager Benitez said: “Obviously, I cannot talk about the transfer window.

“Yesterday, I didn’t know where we were. Today, they told me they were progressing with some names. We have to see if we can finalise everything.”

MIguel Almiron.

The club is also pushing to sign Benfica midfielder Andreas Samaris and Monaco left-back Antonio Barreca on loan before Thursday night’s transfer deadline.

“Before (the game) I knew that we were closer,” said Benitez, who had said ahead of the City game that he couldn’t guarantee that he would see out his contract at Newcastle.

“Hopefully, we will have some good news tomorrow. It will be positive for the rest of the season.

“If we have some good news, it will be positive.

“It’s not just the (transfer) record. To do the right things you have to be stronger.”

Almiron – who helped Atlanta win the MLS Cup last season – set off for Newcastle yesterday.

Almiron, seen as a No 10 by Benitez, had been at the top of his January wishlist.

Newcastle are also in talks with Benfica over a loan for Samaris.

Benitez, United’s manager, has fitness concerns over three senior midfielders – Jonjo Shelvey, Ki Sung-yueng and Mohamed Diame – going into the final four months of the season.

Diame said: “I’m trying to push as hard as possible to get back.

“It’s a bone injury so it’s tough. It’s not easy to know. I’ve never had this before, so I don’t really know when I’ll be back.”