Mike Ashley, Rafael Benitez and the Toon Army have been a disjointed force in recent years, until the emergence of a rising MLS star. And no, not Goal’s fictional Santiago Munez. Has Miguel Almirón become Newcastle’s transfer saving grace with his infectious personality and energy uplifting the club? Casey Baughan discusses why the Premier League has just got that little bit more exciting with him here.
Almirón must be of a special quality to have received two standing ovations now by his new club’s fans. After playing a lightning 80 minutes against a frightened Burnley defence, I am sure that the Paraguayan had another match left in his tank – the pace that Newcastle’s midfield now has is electric. Those familiar with the MLS will be aware of his ability to create space on and off the ball, but to see it in action so soon is impressive. Almirón was pinging in lovely balls to Matt Ritchie as if he was still playing in front of a home crowd at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.Embed from Getty Images
In just 99 minutes of Premier League football he has racked up a tally of seven chances (Coral) – Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez will love playing ahead of the midfield maestro. All that is left to be seen is a first goal, and the Magpies’ confidence will be leading them on a march up the table.
Most of all, pace is the biggest threat to his game and to DeAndre Yedlin’s reputation. The defender has already commented on the new boy on the block’s speed – “With the ball, he’s definitely quicker than me – I’ll give him that.”
2) MLS Transfer Business
After exiting on a high and winning the MLS Cup in December with Atlanta United, many American fans have turned their attention to Newcastle. Almirón’s move to the EPL was clever business in itself, but now that his performances are matching his price tag, more eyes will be on the MLS. And I suspect a lot more scouts will be on British Airways flights to America!Embed from Getty Images
While the midfielder’s fast-paced attacking ability has been stealing pundits’ attention, his personality has won over the Geordie fans. The sudden weight of expectation has disappeared, uplifting the club both on and off the pitch.
4) Mike Ashley’s BudgetEmbed from Getty Images
Newcastle waited 12 years to break their transfer record causing frustration and resistance amongst the fans. All it took was 20 million pound player to change Newcastle into a confident, well-rounded team complemented by the rise of academy player, Sean Longstaff. Manager Rafael Benitez has said that “it is ideal for any club to have players through academy because they are cheaper and they give you more.” If owner Mike Ashley can dig deep in the summer for a striker of the Paraguayan’s calibre, then goals will be no issue whatsoever.
You can follow Casey on Twitter @Casey_Baughan