This is the fourth transfer window in a row where Newcastle United are being linked with a move for Miguel Almiron.
Rafa Benitez has repeatedly made clear that he wants a high quality number 10 that has pace and can create and score goals, with the Paraguayan playmaker claimed to fit the bill.
The Paraguayan international played club football in his home country and then in Argentina, before really stepping it up when moving to the MLS as a 23 year old in February 2017 for around £7m.
In 62 MLS starts (plus 3 as a sub), Miguel Almiron has scored 22 goals and got 19 assists, involved in 41 goals in the 65 matches.
Now, The Northern Echo have revealed that Newcastle United sent people to watch Miguel Almiron play on Saturday in Georgia, on the same day that the player’s agent turned up at St James Park and watched Newcastle beat Bournemouth 2-1.
It was second v third in the MLS Eastern Conference and Atlanta beat New York City 3-1, with Miguel Almiron scoring the second goal, this made it 13 goals and 11 assists in his 34 league games this season.
Miguel Almiron turns 25 in February and he must surely be looking now to see if he can make it at a higher level.
When it comes to playing in front of big crowds, St James Park shouldn’t be a difficult one for the player, Atlanta regularly play in front of crowds of around 45,000 and on Saturday there were over 70,000 there to see the 3-1 victory.
Other Premier League clubs are also claimed to have an interest, with Spurs and Arsenal named in recent reports, whilst West Ham have also been credited with interest in the past (see below).
As always with NUFC under Mike Ashley, the big barrier would appear to be money, if Rafa Benitez is to land the player.
Newcastle would surely have to break what will be a 14 year old transfer record if Miguel Almiron is to be signed in January, with Atlanta claimed to value him at around the £20m mark, which was before he added even more goals and assists in the second half of their MLS season.
The Mag – 19 July 2018:
Newcastle United were claimed to be trying to buy Miguel Almiron in the January 2018 transfer window.
Nothing came of those media reports (see below) back in November 2017 but now once again it is claimed Rafa Benitez wants the Paraguayan international.
This time The Guardian are the ones who say Newcastle United are interested in signing Miguel Almiron, with West Ham also looking at the playmaker/number 10.
They report there are no bids as yet and that his club value him at around £20m.
It would take some leap of imagination for Newcastle to be paying that for a player with this week’s revelations from Rafa Benitez about a seemingly non-existent transfer budget.
The situation so depressing for Newcastle fans as they see pretty much every other club prepared to pay around that £20m figure (and in many cases, more) for their top targets this summer.
Back in November it was claimed Miguel Almiron was available for £15m after impressing in his first MLS season, scoring nine goals and getting eight assists in 28 starts (plus three as a sub).
The MLS are midway through this current season and in 21 starts, Almiron has scored eight goals and got nine assists, putting Atlanta top of the Eastern Conference by a point, so you wouldn’t imagine they’d be too keen to lose their star player.
The playmaker is clearly a top player at MLS level with 17 goals and 17 assists so far, despite only 49 MLS starts so far. The question being whether he could translate that form to a higher level, such as the Premier League.
Though of course by far the biggest question for Newcastle fans is imagining Mike Ashley allowing anybody to be bought for more than the 13 year old £16m Michael Owen record, never mind adding a few more million on top of that.
The Mag – 3 November 2017:
Newcastle United are chasing the signature of Miguel Almiron according to reports this morning.
The 23 year old playmaker/number 10 is claimed to be on Rafa Benitez’ wish list to replace Ayoze Perez.
The United boss failed to get the backing from Mike Ashley in both January and the summer to inject some much needed quality into this key position.
In the Championship Mohamed Diame and Ayoze Perez shared the role but after a really poor pre-season from Diame, Rafa has been forced to go with his fellow Spaniard all this season – so far.
A regular for Paraguay, Miguel Almiron first came to notice playing for Cerro Porteno in his home country, before moving to a higher standard of football in Argentina with Lanus.
However, since moving to Atlanta United in February this year, three days after turning 23, his career has really taken off.
The MLS side have had great value for money with the £7m transfer, Miguel Almiron involved in 17 goals (scored 9, 8 assists) despite only starting 28 league games plus 3 sub appearances.
A number of clubs are reported to have been watching the Paraguayan playmaker, including Newcastle.
Italian media outlet Calciomercato report that Inter Milan are facing a challenge from Newcastle United, with Arsenal also keeping an eye on the player.
With Atlanta United set to more than double their money in less than a year if he moves, the reported £15m price tag would represent the biggest transfer made by Rafa Benitez so far, if a transfer did indeed happen.
Some people will have doubts as to whether Almiron could step up from the MLS but then with any signing you pay your money and make your choice.
Obviously the problem for Rafa so far has been that he hasn’t had the money to make a proper choice, in bringing in the kind of quality playmaker/number 10 that his team is desperate for.
Whether it is Miguel Almiron or whoever, Newcastle supporters will be hoping that both that number 10 role and the main striking one will be strengthened in January.
Whether the club has new owners or not is irrelevant, going into the second half of the season without adding quality in the forward positions would be a massive risk.