Newcastle United’s Miguel Almiron has been a hit with the Toon faithful since joining in January, but the attacker’s lack of end product is leaving the rest of the football world unconvinced.
Almiron’s £21 million price tag made him Newcastle’s record signing, which comes with enormous pressure and expectation.
In the main, the Paraguayan has been a revelation, his work rate and drive spurring on Rafa Benitez’s side in recent games.
He’s also injected enthusiasm into the fans again, who delight in knowing Almiron is always looking to attack and make things happen.
However Friday’s Premier League match against Leicester highlighted exactly what is currently missing from his game.
The midfielder gave yet another electrifying performance, but frequently spurned the final pass and opportunities at goal.
Almiron’s goal and assist drought has now stretched to eight matches, and sceptics are beginning to dismiss his him as a flop.
The criticisms have sparked outrage in a lot of Toon supporters, who have been quick to set the record straight.
Fans defend Almiron after Leicester display
— 𝙷𝚊𝚗𝚘𝚒𝚃𝚘𝚘𝚗 #nufc #AshleyOut (@HanoiToon) April 13, 2019
It is a (deliberately?) strange take on a player who has made us so much better since signing. Almost as if someone wants Rafa to be proved wrong. Or they just don’t understand football. Also for all the record transfer talk the fee is pretty standard for an attacking player.
— joe gomes (@joegomes10) April 13, 2019
If you're being overly critical of Almiron's final ball or the fact he's not yet got a goal/assist then you've not been paying attention.
— NUFCblog.co.uk (@NUFCblogcouk) April 12, 2019
Reasons to ignore the papers on Almiron.
Yes, he's our record buy, yet he still cost less than players like Jefferson Lerma (£25 million, 1 goal in 25 games) Jean Michaël Seri (£27 million, 1 goal in 30 games)
Almiron has only played 9 games.
— ɴᴏᴛᴏʀɪᴏᴜꜱ ꜰᴏʀ ɴᴏᴡᴛ (@LostBoyNUFC180) April 13, 2019
Can’t believe there’s people slagging off Miggy Almiron. He has made a massive impact and if you can’t see that you shouldn’t be allowed out in public without some sort of medical care. #nufc
— Dale (@dc_nufc_84) April 13, 2019
Totally agree. His pace and movement has helped Perez, Rondon & Ritchie. He’s had shots on target. Yes he’s young & keen but he’s just arrived in a new country & league. No wonder players lose confidence. Only 30m too nothing no in the league
— Karen Geordie lass 🏃♀️🏋️♂️🚴♀️⚫️⚪️ (@1karenannwalker) April 13, 2019
Don’t trust anyone who thinks Almiron hasn’t turned up yet because he hasn’t been on the scoresheet #NUFC
— Kevin (@KevinCoatsworth) April 13, 2019
Almiron was excellent last night Sky commentary and post match confirmed it. He has been instrumental in our push for a safety. Interested in why your article was claiming he has been a poor signing.
— David Melia (@bodas73) April 13, 2019
Almiron out of position
One thing that critics forget when dismissing Almiron is that he is not playing in his preferred number 10 role.
Instead the midfielder is playing on the left hand side and putting in a terrific shift for Rafa Benitez.
It’s clear that Benitez wants his team to be compact and Almiron has not been afforded the freedom to roam.
He’s also only played nine matches.
Considering he is adapting to a far more competitive league than the MLS, he’s performing remarkably.
There were fears before his arrival he would not be able to cope with the Premier League, but he’s proved doubters wrong.
He’s arguably the Toon’s best player already and by next season will surely be their biggest threat.