How do you solve a problem like Miguel Almiron?
When he first arrived at Newcastle, the Paraguayan was a breath of fresh air.
But under Steve Bruce, things haven’t been quite as rosy.
He’s played in a variety of different positions, rarely getting the chance to be the focal point of the side.
He had a brief run as an attacking midfielder last season before COVID put everything on hold. Then this season he operated as a ‘false nine’ in a system that fell apart once Callum Wilson got injured.
Since reverting to a back five, Almiron has been stifled. The 27-year-old has been a part of a midfield three, as Bruce looks to surround Jonjo Shelvey with willing runners.
First Almiron was on the right of the three, now he is on the left. But his influence has waned.
Bruce has big Almiron decision to make
Other than his hard work and desire off the ball, we are seeing nothing from the £21million man.
Offensively, Almiron currently brings nothing to the party. The wide areas are occupied by the wing-backs, while Allan Saint-Maximin is the main man centrally.
This has led to a situation where Bruce has a big decision to make about Miggy. He either changes the system to get the best out of him, or he drops him.
And considering the change in system has worked in recent weeks, it seems like the latter is the only option.
Almiron is a great player who can influence games, but not in the role he’s currently being asked to play.
With Joe Willock waiting in reserve, Bruce has a clear alternative.
What system would get the best out of Almiron at Newcastle?
When Almiron first arrived at St James’ Park, he thrived in a 3-4-3 formation.
He was on the left of a front three, combining brilliantly with Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon.
That is one option, but could leave Shelvey exposed in a midfield two.
Another choice is to go back to the diamond formation that worked so well after Graeme Jones arrived. However, this would force Bruce to move away from five at the back, which he may be reluctant to do.
The third option is playing a 4-2-3-1, which seems like Newcastle’s best bet of getting all their creative players on the pitch.
Almiron wouldn’t even have to play centrally – he could start on the left and allow Saint-Maximin to operate in the ‘number 10’ role.
Bruce has multiple options. One final one is keeping things as they are, which would be bad news for Miguel Almiron.