Miguel Almirón Credits MLS For Development And Aims For Monday Debut With Newcastle

The 24-year-old Paraguayan is saying all the right things as he begins life at Newcastle.

Following his $26 million transfer from Atlanta United to Newcastle United, expectations are high for Miguel Almirón on Tyneside. A large part of that is because St James’ Park has been desperate for an inspirational attacker to idolize, but also because the club sits only two points above the drop zone — a predicament that’s thanks in large part due to a haul of only 21 goals in 25 games (the second-worst total in the division).

Although you could look at Almirón’s price tag as a potential burden (especially so since he’s coming from the “backwaters” of MLS), the truth is, it’s probably already the Paraguayan’s first great success with Newcastle. For one, the previous club record fee (used to purchase Michael Owen from Real Madrid) had withstood the test of time (14 years) in today’s exorbitantly priced era. For Toon supporters, it’s a relief to have finally moved on from that archaic transfer.

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But more importantly, it gives fresh hope to potentially securing Rafael Benítez’s services beyond this season. The Spanish coach’s contract is up in the summer, and before the club moved for Almirón and Monaco full back Antonio Barreca, another window with little to no transfer activity would’ve certainly cemented Benítez’s summer exit.

Regardless, the club has to survive for that to even be a possibility, and that’s where Almirón’s ability to disrupt defenses, create for others and chip in with goals of his own comes into play. 

Newcastle returns to action on Monday with an away match against seventh-place Wolves. Although Almirón only joined his teammates in training for the first time on Wednesday, there’s an expectation that he’ll be in the matchday squad.

Today, Almirón spoke with the media for the first time since his deadline day move, and he insisted that he was ready for action while also heaping praise on his time in MLS.

“Football’s not just about skill and ability, and especially in this league when the tempo is so high, it’s about working hard. To succeed you’ve got to put a shift in,” he said. “…I feel good physically, I’m in good shape. Our preseason had started at Atlanta so I’ve got some physical work done; it’s about integrating with my new teammates and settling in as quickly as possible.

“I think for some time now the MLS has been improving. Every year you see more and more quality players come in. I think it’s a good sign and a positive thing for that league. There are quite big differences between the MLS and the Premier League. The tempo here is different, it’s higher, with more pressing. It’s a more difficult league but, with the help of my teammates, it’s something I feel I’ll cope with — and my manager will help me.”

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