'Take a chance' - Paul Merson urges Steve Bruce to make big call on where he plays Newcastle live wire Almiron
Paul Merson has claimed that Newcastle United need to start playing Miguel Almiron as a second striker.
The Paraguayan has made headlines this week after his agent claimed that he could leave Tyneside sooner rather than later, with a number of clubs supposedly interested in acquiring his services.
Those comments drew an angry response from Toon manager Steve Bruce, who labelled Almiron’s representative as a “two-bob agent”, while also praising the player for his commitment and professionalism.
Speaking on Sky Sports News’ Soccer Saturday, Merson expressed his sympathy for the 26-year-old’s current situation, but also suggested that the Magpies need to reassess how they utilise the South American to get the best out of him.
"I don’t see him as a number 10, personally,” the former Arsenal man said.
"I don’t see him as that player. You play number 10, you expect people to be able to put the ball through the eye of a needle and see something in a game.
"When you watch Kevin De Bruyne, you sit and watch him and you go, ‘Where’s that pass come from?’. That’s a number 10. A number 10 is going to make things happen.
"I see Almiron as someone who plays up front, on the shoulder as a Jamie Vardy, and uses his pace. He is quick, and he’s not a bad finisher either. I think he’s the one who has to play on the shoulder.
"I think Steve’s got to go big man, little man up front and take a chance. Just say to him, ‘We’ll go long, and you go for every flick on’. He’ll cause problems.
"I feel sorry for him. His agent is trying to nick a dollar and he hasn’t thought about the player. I don’t think it’s right.”
So far this season, Almiron is yet to score in seven Premier League appearances, but did find the back of the net against Morecambe in September’s 7-0 EFL Cup demolition, and looked lively when he came on in the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea on Saturday.
After a slow start in front of goal in England, the former Atlanta playmaker has rediscovered his scoring touch more frequently in recent times, and his overall tally now stands at nine goals in 63 appearances for the Magpies.